HARRISBURG – The House approved legislation today by Rep. Lou Schmitt (R-Blair) to protect police officers from being assaulted by spit and other bodily fluids.
“A number of police officers have told me about being spit on by people they were arresting who used their bodily fluids to assault them,” Schmitt said. “These assaults have the potential to spread dangerous viruses to the men and women of law enforcement who are serving to protect the public.”
Schmitt’s House Bill 103
would make it a criminal offense for an officer to be assaulted with bodily fluids, such as spit. It would also provide a stricter penalty for people who have an infectious disease and are convicted of assaulting an officer with bodily fluids.
The comprehensive bill outlines an assault with bodily fluids must be deliberate, rather than a case of accidental spitting that could occur during a heated exchange.
Specifically, House Bill 103 would create a new criminal offense for people who assault police officers with bodily fluids. Should the bill become law, the offense would be classified as a first-degree misdemeanor, which carries a penalty of up to five years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine; and an enhanced third-degree felony, which includes up to seven years and up to a $15,000 fine, if the person knows or has reason to know he or she has an infectious disease.
These assaults also take police officers off the street, preventing them from fully doing their jobs. Typically, when an officer is assaulted with spit or bodily fluids, they must undergo medical testing to see if they contracted a virus, such as HIV.
“Coronavirus has ushered in a terrifying new era of biological danger. Sadly, being assaulted with bodily fluids — especially spit — is nothing new for police officers. But to weaponize bodily fluids and threaten to spread a deadly, mutating virus is a threat that must be met head on by the criminal justice system. There must be a consequence, and that consequence should be prison,” Schmitt said.
House Bill 103 now goes to the Senate for consideration.
Representative Lou Schmitt
79th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives