Bi-partisan legislation introduced by a former Livingston County Sheriff’s deputy that would boost the penalties for disarming a police officer has passed the House.
Republican State Representative Mike Mueller of Linden represents District 51, which includes Argentine and Fenton Townships, as well as the cities of Linden and Fenton. He took office in January, after retiring from a lengthy law enforcement career. The House recently passed HB 4315, which is part of a bi-partisan plan introduced earlier this year alongside Democratic Rep. David LaGrand, a former prosecutor from Grand Rapids. House Bills 4315 and 4316 would increase the maximum sentence for attempting to disarm a police officer from a five-year felony to a 10-year felony and ups the penalty for disarming a police officer from a 10-year felony to a 20-year felony. Mueller says the House passage shows police officers that the Legislature has their backs when it comes to protecting them as public servants because they protect everyone, every day. He says the legislation further shows that the punishment fits the crime.
The legislation was said to be inspired by the tragic death of Oak Park Police Officer Mason Samborski, a Howell native who was killed on December 28th, 2008 by a suspect who took his firearm and executed him after he had become incapacitated during a struggle with the suspect. Mueller said unfortunately he has had two incidents in which someone tried to disarm him – once after he was elected and still working road patrol and another in 2009 in which an individual attempted to take his firearm and a shooting did occur. 36-year-old Albert Montez Smith IV of Flint was sentenced to up to 25 years in prison this past June. A jury found him guilty on seven felony charges following a road rage incident on November 28th 2018 in which Smith rolled his van in Tyrone Township. He attempted to flee the scene and rammed Mueller’s patrol vehicle before a physical confrontation ensued and Smith attempted to steal Mueller’s gun and the patrol vehicle. A taser was deployed but to little effect and Smith was eventually taken into custody when other police officers arrived. Both Mueller and Smith were hospitalized for injuries but have since recovered. (JM)