Salt Lake City, UT – A Utah state representative has filed a bill aimed at lowering the age threshold for charging juveniles as adults when they murder law enforcement officers.
“When someone targets a police officer, in some ways it’s a higher offense because that officer represents all of us in trying to keep law and order,” Rep. Winder told KTSU.
He said bill was inspired by the family of West Valley City Police Department (WVPD) Officer Cody Brotherson, who was hit by a vehicle traveling 70 mph on Nov. 6, 2016.
An officer who witnessed the collision said that he saw the vehicle swerve towards Officer Brotherson.
All three occupants were gang members, and they received the maximum juvenile sentence of incarceration until the age of 21.
Brotherson’s family felt that the sentences fell far short of delivering justice, and wanted to see their son’s murderers tried as adults.
“I believe that if you intentionally murder a police officer or kill a police officer during an active crime, you deserve to face adult consequences. Quite honestly, these guys shouldn't have been on the street the day they were. They had been committing assaults prior to that,” one of Officer Brotherson’s family members told KSTU.
“This doesn't fit the crime that occurred,” WVPD Chief Lee Russo said. “This doesn't pay for the loss that we've all suffered. I do believe there should be some enhancements. There should be some level of protection for police officers when something like this happens.”
The bill has been sent to agencies for fiscal input, according to the Utah State Legislature website.