Nelson's bill would make disarming cops a felony - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Nelson's bill would make disarming cops a felony

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The gun-grabbing incident involving lieutenant governor Ray Tenorio has sparked legislation to criminalize the disarming of peace officers. Senator Telena Nelson's bill makes it a felony.

It was at a July event in Tumon that the now well-publicized incident occurred in which Lt. Governor Tenorio attempted multiple times to disarm an on-duty police officer. Tenorio has explained that his actions were an attempt at a teachable moment, but he has since been charged with a misdemeanor by the Attorney General and faces a possible trial in March.

Senator Nelson explained the purpose for her bill, saying, "There's currently no law criminalizing the act of disarming a police officer. Such an act presents a clear danger to the community due to the type of response we could expect from the peace officer, especially in a crowded area. By codifying the crime we can be more clear about the severity of this issue."

She also made it clear that regardless of what happens with the Lt. Governor's case, her bill would have no impact, noting, "This bill was introduced in response to the lack of a statute criminalizing the act, as these charges would not be applicable to the certain situation as it will be enacted after the fact."

She also referenced another, more serious gun grabbing incident in 2015, in which murder suspect Dmitri Lobanov disarmed an officer while being booked at the Hagatna precinct, and used the weapon to kill himself.

Lt. Steven Amagan is the deputy precinct commander at Hagatna, he says shortly after the second incident in Tumon he called for patrol officers to take extra precautions. "Precautionary measures in the event that other members of our community will follow the trend in disarming our peace officers. This bill when passed into law will make the public aware that it is illegal to disarm a peace officer," he said.

Amagan was the lone person to public testify on the bill.

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