Increased Penlaty for Assault and Battery on Police Officer or Public Employee
When an assult and battery occurs upon a police officer or other public employee, the fact that the alleged victim was a public employee is treated as an aggravating circumstance. The result is that the penalty for the assault and battery is increased to include a minimum sentence of nintey days in jail.
Increased Chance of Being Charged
It takes significantly less to find yourself charged with assault and battery on a police officer than it does to find yourself charged with assault and battery on anyone else. Police do a job which (rightly or wrongly) regularly provokes the outrage of the people they are dealing with, and at the same time, police are particularly cognizant of how little force it takes to constitute an assault and battery. To make matters worse for the defendant, unlike ordinary alleged victims of assault and battery, police officers are accustomed to keeping track of, and appearing for court appointments, and giving testimony before a court.
Defending the Charge of Assault and Battery on a Police Officer
Still, the charge of assault and battery on a police officer is susceptible to certain common defenses. In cases where the police have charged someone with assault and battery for relatively benign conduct, there are ways of presenting that fact to a jury so that they will see the difference. In cases where someone was flailing during arrest (and, in which case, were probably also charged with disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace) and accidently hit the officer, there can be genuine doubt as to whether the touching was intentional.
If you are charged with assault and battery on a police officer you should always consult an attorney. Sometimes the police add this charge to create a record of what they say happened, sometimes they add it to a list of other charges just to increase the potential penalties a defendant faces, and sometimes it is something they really want to see pursued. Both the District Attorney and the law treat police as victims of assault and battery differently than they do a civilian, but police are just people who can be cross examined like anyone else. A criminal defense attorney can help you decide how best to defend these charges.
See: G.L. c. 265 s. 13D; Disorderly Conduct/Disturbing the Peace.