Minnesota lawmakers seek longer sentences for injuring cops

A man is helped into a building by police officers.
Waseca police officer Arik Matson (gray coat) along with his wife Megan is welcomed back to the police station by co-workers and family members on Oct. 19, 2020. Matson was shot in the head while responding to a suspicious person call in January 2020.
Jackson Forderer for MPR News 2020

Republican lawmakers proposed Thursday to increase the penalty for the attempted murder of a police officer a year after a southern Minnesota officer was gravely wounded while on-duty.

The legislation would increase the minimum sentence for those convicted of attempted first-degree murder of a police officer from 20 years, with the possibility of parole after just over 13 years, to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 30 years.

Sen. John Jasinski, of Faribault, and Rep. John Petersburg, of Waseca, presented the bill alongside Waseca, Minn., police officer Arik Matson, who was shot in the head while responding to a suspicious person call last January.

“This is a common sense, pro-public safety bill that treats law enforcement officers with the respect and honor they deserve,” Jasinski said. “Any attempt on an officer's life must be met with punishment that matches the heinousness of the crime.”

Tyler Janovsky, 38, was sentenced to 35 years in prison in November. Prosecutor Rachel Cornelius said Janovsky got 20 years for nearly killing Matson, with an additional 15 years for the attempted murder of other officers responding to the call.

Cornelius said the Legislature raised penalties for those who kill law enforcement officers, but attempted murder penalties have remained the same.

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