The New York State Senate has voted that it should be a felony to “annoy” police officers. The New York State Senate passed a bill this week that “creates the crime of aggravated harassment of a police or peace officer. The bill (S.2402), sponsored by Senator Joe Griffo (R-C-I, Rome) would make it a felony to harass, annoy, or threaten a police officer while on duty.
“Police officers who risk their lives every day in our cities and on our highways deserve every possible protection, and those who treat them with disrespect, harass them and create situations that can lead to injuries deserve to pay a price for their actions.”
The bill establishes this crime as a Class E Felony, punishable by up to four years in prison.
“At a time when shocking incidents of disrespect and outright confrontation are at an all-time high, the men and women who patrol the streets of our cities deserve every possible protection we can offer them,” Senator Griffo stated. “My bill would make it a crime to take any type of physical action to try to intimidate a police officer. This is a necessary action because we can see from the rise in incidents that too many people in our society have lost the respect they need to have for a police officer. We need to make it very clear that when a police officer is performing his duty, every citizen needs to comply and that refusal to comply carries a penalty.”
Utica New York Police Department Chief Mark Williams said he is “grateful” to see this bill pass through the Senate. Williams explains that, “Our police officers have a very dangerous job” he explained, adding that they “need the support of our government leaders to help make them safe.”
He adds, “All too often persons are physically challenging police officers in the line of duty. Currently in those instances where an officer is physically attack [sic] (short of sustaining a physical injury) the lawful charge is only a violation. The consequences are way too low for the offender and it sends the wrong message to the public.”
The message, apparently, should be that beating your wife is a lesser offense than “annoying” a cop.
“Citizens do not have the legal right to physically challenge the authority of an officer lawfully performing their duties,” Williams added. What he did not explain, however, is how prosecuting “annoyance” is now equal to prosecuting “physical threats.”
“Threats, intimidation and physical force used upon our police officers not only erode respect for our criminal justice system, but also endanger the public as well.”
This is a classic false equivalency fallacious argument. But the police aren’t asking our opinion of the bill; they are telling us the way that it’s going to be.
Here’s how the legislation reads, according to the New York state legislature web site:
To further complicate this issue, it is illegal for firearms to be purchased by felons. As “annoying” a cop would be a felony under this law, it may well become controversial among gun owners as well. The bill, if passed, would allow police to strip people of the right to own a weapon based on whether or not they “annoy” them.
But beyond this issue is the fact that this law would only formalize what has been the policy of so many police officers all along. We have seen Police CHOKE an African American CHILD holding a puppy for simply giving them ‘Dehumanizing Stares’. For many, if the police want to arrest you, they simply charge you with “disorderly conduct” for taking a tone they do not like. The onus is on the accused to prove their innocence and such charges are typically raised against those least able to afford a descent attorney to argue their case.
This bill would bring such practices of rogue elements of law enforcement out of the shadows. It would mainstream such discrimination and normalize police state abuses. When coupled with New York City’s existing “Stop and Frisk” policies, this bill has many asking just how much more totalitarian things can get?