A newly amended Louisiana criminal statute will provide additional protection to law enforcement officers. Act No. 5 of the 2019 Louisiana Legislative Regular Session amends Louisiana criminal statute La. R. S. 14:34.6 and expands the crime of Disarming of a Peace Officer.
District Attorney John Belton of the Third Judicial District, Parishes of Lincoln and Union, proposed the change to the Louisiana District Attorneys Association, who supported the bill. The bill was authored by Representatives John Stefanski and Jim Morris.
District Attorney Belton stated that he sought to change the law after he was approached by a Lincoln Parish Deputy Sherriff who believed that the law did not sufficiently protect peace officers. "As formerly written, the law did not criminalize disarming an officer of all equipment used in the course and scope of law enforcement duties," Belton stated. "Law enforcement and I felt that the law as written failed to provide adequate consequences for those individuals who would disarm or attempt to disarm our peace officers. This amendment makes it clear that to disarm an officer of any law enforcement equipment approved by the officer's agency and used by the officer in performance of law enforcement duties is a crime," added Belton.
The newly amended law went into effect August 1, 2019.