A shooting incident on a Native American reservation in Arizona left an officer dead when he attempted to make a traffic stop, according to a recent report. Jair Cabrera, 37, was on duty with the Salt River Police Department when he attempted to make a traffic stop near the Chevron station on Pima Road and Chaparral Road in Scottsdale. The driver allegedly shot through the windshield of the police car, striking Cabrera. He was transported to a local hospital where he died of his injuries.
Three occupants of the car were taken into custody. The Federal Bureau of Investigation says at least one of the car’s occupants will face criminal charges.
The shooting is one of a recent spate of attacks on police officers including officer deaths in New Hampshire and Alaska earlier in the year.
Crimes Against Law Enforcement Officers
In general, a crime committed against a police officer or other law enforcement official carries stiffer penalties than those committed against civilians. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, in 2012 there were 48 officer deaths from felonious attacks. The largest number, 22, were killed in the South, while eight officers died in the West, six in the Midwest, six in the Northeast and six in the territories. The average age of an officer killed in the line of duty was 38 years old and the average length of law enforcement service was 12 years. Five of the victims were females.
The rate of attacks on officers was much higher. In fact, about 10 percent of officers in 2012 reported being attacked during the execution of their duties. According to the FBI’s data, 52,901 officers suffered assaults in 2012, and 14,678 sustained injuries. The largest number of attacks, nearly 30 percent, were with fists, feet or hands, while 13.2 percent of these officers were attacked with knives. An additional 9.8 percent were attacked with firearms.
Penalties for Police Officer Attacks
Arizona Revised Statutes Section 13-105 refers to attacks on a “Peace Officer.” This means any vested law enforcement officer empowered to make arrests. Aggravated or felony assault against a police officer may be charged if someone attacks a person who is attempting to make an arrest or attempts to threaten or intimidate a police officer by word or conduct. The law also covers taking or attempting to take an officer’s weapon. Many of these charges are brought as Class 5 or Class 6 felonies and can carry sentences of one to 2.5 years in prison. However, if the officer is injured, the charges may be brought as a Class 4 felony and carry up to 3.75 years in prison. If serious physical injury results or if the person attacks the officer with a deadly weapon, the prison sentence can be as long as 12.5 years as a Class 2 felony.
If you have been charged with assault against a police officer, you need strong legal representation. Contact the law offices of Alex Lane in Phoenix immediately to protect your rights.