Matson joins lawmakers introducing bill that increases penalties for attempted murder of police

Two southern Minnesota lawmakers introduced legislation Thursday that would increase the minimum sentence for attempted murder of a police officer, inspired by Waseca officer Arik Matson, who was nearly killed after being shot in the head while on duty last January
Waseca County attorney Rachel Cornelius says the bill, with bipartisan support, fixes a gap that overlooks many challenges and hardships faced by officers.
Updated: Jan. 14, 2021 at 7:56 PM CST
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ST. PAUL, Minn. (KEYC) — One year and eight days after a night they will never forget, the Matson family takes one step closer to justice.

“I never thought this day would come so soon,” Megan Matson, Officer Arik Matson’s wife, said.

Megan Matson, officer Arik Matson's wife, listens to questions from the press following the...
Megan Matson, officer Arik Matson's wife, listens to questions from the press following the introduction of the bill, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021, in St. Paul, Minn. The bill has bipartisan support in the Minnesota house and senate. (KEYC)

Sen. John Jasinski (R-Albert Lea) and Rep. John Petersburg (R-Waseca) introduced a bill that would increase sentences to life incarceration with a minimum of 30 years for individuals convicted of attempted first-degree murder of a police officer, judge, prosecutor or correctional officer.

Waseca County Attorney Rachel Cornelius says the bill, with bipartisan support, fixes a gap that overlooks many challenges and hardships faced by officers who survive an attack.

“The current law does not account for if the officer or officers are gravely injured, almost die, have to learn how to eat, walk and talk all over again, and possibly not ever return to work,” Cornelius said.

Those hardships, Arik Matson says, can happen to anyone.

“I know when I woke up in the hospital, and they said I’d been shot, I was like ‘Are you kidding me? Like, in Waseca?’ And they said yeah, they said ‘You got shot in the head,’” Arik said. “And I was kind of furious, like, you know, ‘Why?’”

12 months into the journey to recovery, Megan Matson says she knows God chose Arik the night of Jan. 6, 2020.

“The night that I arrived at North Memorial, I looked at Arik for the first time, and I knew that he was going to make it,” Megan said. “And there was just an overwhelming feeling, that I knew that there was a purpose to why God chose Arik that night.”

That purpose came into focus Thursday in the Minnesota Senate Building.

“It took months and months of praying and questioning, “What is our purpose?” And I feel like this is just the beginning,” Megan said.

Megan and Arik thank their community: locally, across the state and country, for the calls, the letters and the continuous outpouring of love. They say justice can never fully be reached, but for Arik, the little things sometimes mean the most.

“It really means the world to an officer when you come up and tell them ‘thank you for your service, thank you for what you’re doing’” Arik said, “because we don’t know what that next shift is gonna bring.”

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