A Missouri state lawmaker has proposed legislation that would expand the options for law enforcement officers who abuse their authority. Representative Ron Hicks from St. Charles County says the current criminal code is not designed to charge police officers.

Hicks proposes adding a new charge of abuse of force which would carry penalties from a class A misdemeanor to a class A felony, depending on the circumstances. He notes that other charges could still apply, such as murder or assault.

Hicks believes his new legislation would eliminate the defense of “just following orders,” however that is not a recognized defense contained in the Missouri Approved Instructions. The bill provides that any peace officer found guilty of abuse of authority would have his or her commission suspended or revoked.