However, the penalty for assaulting a peace officer is already significantly enhanced, with murders of police securing a death sentence or life without parole and lesser assaults bumped upward by one offense category. So we should already be witnessing any possible benefit from enhanced criminal penalties on reducing the number of murders of police officers. If that strategy worked, we wouldn't be having this discussion!
The problem is, criminals don't carry around pocket copies of the Penal Code to read in their spare time at the bus stop. Killing a police officer and standing trial for it is a one-time life event during which offenders typically only contemplate potential consequences after the fact. Nobody is weighing penalty thresholds in their mind's eye at the moment they assault a cop. Or if they are, they have resigned themselves already that they will die if the officer does.
OTOH, there may be good reasons why one wouldn't want to boost the penalty by two categories (instead of one) just because the victim is a police officer. For example, in September, Sgt. Rick Van Houten, a police union president out of Fort Worth, allegedly assaulted another officer at a CLEAT convention on Padre Island then fled the hotel before local police came. His department investigated the incident and decided it was worth only a three-day suspension. Does anyone think the situation really merited prosecution as a felony if his department would let him back on the job so quickly? Van Houten was even allowed to participate in meet-and-confer negotiations while on restricted duty because of the incident.
Yes, cops receive lenient treatment compared to civilians when they hurt other people or break the law. But perhaps the best way to achieve justice is neither to punish cops more harshly nor to mandate felony incarceration for relatively minor altercations like this one. Instead, perhaps average citizens should be afforded the same protections and benefit of the doubt they'd receive if they were a member of a protected class like politicians or police officers. The punishment afforded the union boss is closer to "justice" in this situation than if the law demanded he be prosecuted for felony assault.
When considering whether to change the law, legislators should assess how Sgt. Rick Van Houten should be treated, not some hypothetical scary black guy conjured up for purposes of pushing a cause. If Sgt. Van Houten deserved a felony rap, fine. But if not, don't mandate that outcome for people who commit the same offense but don't wear a badge.