Updated: January 14, 2021 01:54 PM
Created: January 14, 2021 01:04 PM
Arik Matson, a Waseca police officer who was seriously injured after he was shot in the line of duty last year, joined Minnesota state legislators at a news conference Thursday to advocate for stronger penalties against people convicted of attempting to kill a peace officer.
Sen. John Jasinski (R-Faribault) and Rep. John Petersburg (R-Waseca) unveiled a new bipartisan bill that would increase the minimum penalty for attempted first-degree murder of a police officer, judge, prosecutor or correctional officer to a life sentence with at least 30 years served before being eligible for release.
Right now the penalty is a minimum of 20 years with supervised release after two-thirds of the sentence is served.
"This is a common sense, pro-public safety bill that treats law enforcement officers with 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. We are going to make sure that officers and their families get justice."
Arik Matson underwent months of surgery and rehabilitation after he was shot in the head last January while responding to a domestic incident in Waseca. Tyler Janovsky, the man who shot him, pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree attempted murder of a peace officer and was sentenced to 35 years in prison.
"I wish I could say this to be the last time we have to prosecute this crime, but unfortunately that's probably not going to be the case," Arik Matson said. "But thank you for acknowledging that our jobs as police officers are never normal and that we have a number of circumstances that can go wrong and be very tragic."
Officer Matson's wife, Megan, said she reached out to Waseca County Attorney Rachel Cornelius to see how she could advocate for heavier penalties for crimes like the one committed against Arik and was told the best way was to work with state legislators to change the law. Megan Matson said she was able to lobby for the bill with the help of the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association.
"It would feel like a big thank-you to all the men and women that helped us along Arik's journey to know if and when this happens again, the next family will have better justice than what was offered to us," Megan Matson said.
Copyright 2021 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company