New York lawmakers never cease to amaze.
This time, they’ve drawn up a bill, New York Senate Bill 2402, that would make it a class E felony to “annoy” cops.
I’m getting annoyed just writing this story…
Part of the bill reads:
A PERSON IS GUILTY OF AGGRAVATED HARASSMENT OF A POLICE OFFICER OR PEACE OFFICER WHEN, WITH THE INTENT TO HARASS, ANNOY, THREATEN OR ALARM A PERSON WHOM HE OR SHE KNOWS OR REASONABLY SHOULD KNOW TO BE A POLICE OFFICER OR PEACE OFFICER ENGAGED IN THE COURSE OF PERFORMING HIS OR HER OFFICIAL DUTIES, HE OR SHE STRIKES, SHOVES, KICKS OR OTHERWISE SUBJECTS SUCH PERSON TO PHYSICAL CONTACT.
Senator Joe Griffo is one of the original sponsors of the bill. He said it was important piece of legislation: “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.”
There are several problems, however, with Griffo’s bill. For one, it gives police far too much power, as they could arrest almost anyone by claiming “annoyance”. Secondly, there is no actual explanation for the bill’s creation in the first place.
If the bill becomes law, those who “annoy” cops would be subject to the same punishment as other class E felonies, like “placing a false bomb or hazardous substance” in public places and rioting in the first degree. Class E felonies may be penalized with up to four years of prison.
Police almost all disapprove when citizens film them. If this bill became law, police would have the right to arrest anyone who films their actions, if they are being “annoyed”.
We already live in a society where cops are arresting people for questionable reasons. For example, NY homeowner Emily Good was arrested for “standing in her own yard and videotaping police officers who were performing a traffic stop in front of her house. When Good insisted on her right to stand in her yard, she was arrested, handcuffed, and taken away in a police car. She was later charged with obstructing governmental administration.”
Another example of police abusing their power was when a Florida 14-year-old was slammed to the ground and choked for giving “dehumanizing stares” to the police.
This new bill, if passed, would basically let police arrest anyone they want, for any reason they see fit… So long as the citizen’s actions are “annoying”.
Written by Kristin Tate.
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