The New York State Senate passed a controversial bill on Wednesday that aims to classify ‘aggravated harassment of a police officer’ as a crime, but will it give the authorities the green light for strong-arm tactics if passed?
Sponsored by Senator Joe Griffo, Bill S.2402 would make it a felony to “harass, annoy, or threaten a police officer while on duty.”
“Our system of laws is established to protect the foundations of our society,” Senator Griffo said. “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.”
Griffo said that New York police require extra safeguards because “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.”
The bill, which will now move to the State Assembly, would make it a crime for a person to make any type of physical action aimed at intimidating a police officer. Harassment of a police officer would be recognized as a Class E Felony, punishable by up to four years in prison.
NY yall needa stand up man don’t tolerate this
maybe you shouldn’t fucking harass or threaten a police officer. the person that keeps your community safe.
It’s already a crime to harass or threaten a police officer. Actually, it’s a crime to threaten anyone, it’s just difficult to get the police involved or prove it to officialdom when it happens in the street… oh, unless you’re threatening a police officer, because then the police are involved and the victim is seen by the courts as an excellent witness.
So the question you should be asking yourself now is why they would pass a law that’s only purpose is to allow the police to arrest someone when nothing that would pass for a crime under current laws is happening. This law isn’t needed to stop people from attacking police, because that’s already illegal. This law isn’t needed to stop people from threatening to attack police, because that’s already illegal. This law isn’t needed to stop people from interfering in a police officer’s duties, because that’s already illegal.
So what exactly is the purpose of this law, do you think, and how will it keep communities safe? Or to put it better: from what do you think it will keep which communities safe?
Let’s consider the case in Florida where a kid holding a puppy was wrongfully accused of police officers of being in a fight. When they determined that there was no fight and no need for their intervention, he started to walk away. At that point, the officers involved claimed that his disrespect to them… the act of looking at them (the so-called “dehumanizing stare”) and walking away… indicated he was a threat that needed to be neutralized, and they ended up basically choke-slamming him.
(Sidebar: what community was being kept safe in that case, and from what?)
We can imagine nothing the kid did is illegal under previously existing laws on the books. But add a law that makes it illegal to “annoy” a police officer, and that makes “annoying” equal to “threatening”, and suddenly there is endless justification for that sort of violent and unprovoked police action.
Now, that case was in Florida, but New York is already a city where white residents are overwhelmingly more likely to be carrying illegal weapons and drugs but Black and Latino residents are far, far more likely to be stopped, a city where the cops use “random” stops to bust people of color for carrying amounts of marijuana that aren’t a crime to possess for personal use but are a crime to display (empty your pockets == put it on display, refuse to empty your pockets == violating a lawful order and giving probable cause… classic double-bind). New York is also a city where precinct captains advise their officers to shoot people of color in the head so that when the smoke clears there’s only one side of the story left to tell.
The only purpose of this law is to give police officers unnecessarily (and dangerously) broad leeway in deciding who they arrest/attack and why, and history… meaning recent history and current ongoing events… tells us which communities are going to bear the brunt of this power grab. Looking at your profile pic, I can tell why you’re pretty sanguine about it, but you’re kidding yourself if you think this is about public safety.
yeah….you can keep these sleazy predators out of my community any day and people would be a hundred times safer.
listen to the rich white dudes because they have less to hide and are used to not giving a shit what people think, if you want to know what cops are about…bloomberg accurately called them his own private army. that’s what they are. a private army for rich white people and the institutions that create rich white people. and if you don’t have anything but praise for cops? that means you, like bloomberg, are benefitting from their deployment, occupation, and murders. i’m not surprised you show such undying support for your troops!