6.07.2013

It May Soon Be a Felony to Annoy a Cop in NY

You read that right. The NY State Senate has passed a bill that is now before the Assembly, which will make it a felony, punishable by four years in prison, "TO HARASS, ANNOY, THREATEN OR ALARM A... POLICE OFFICER."

Many opponents are concerned that this law will be misused in a number of ways, but particularly against citizens and reporters who film police encounters. Police routinely abuse laws that are on the books already. Everything from arbitrary laws such as disorderly conduct and obstruction of police administration, to resisting arrest and assault on a police officer.

In this incident, a deaf and mentally handicapped woman was charged with felony assault on a police officer for the crime of acting as the officer's punching bag. In this case, a trucker was beaten within an inch of his life for the crime of obstruction, and resisting arrest. And in this case, a man was sentenced to 18 years in prison after he was shot by police in his own bed in the middle of the night. Police had raided the house with a no-knock warrarnt on the suspicion that it was a drug house, but only discovered personal use paraphernalia after shooting the man numerous times.

There are thousands of incidents like these which show police abuse of authority with the existing laws that are already in place. Even cases that defy logic entirely, like being arrested for resisting arrest. How can one be arrested for resisting arrest, if there is no other charge to justify an arrest in the first place?

New York lawmakers have justified their proposal as follows:

JUSTIFICATION:  Police officers all across this state put their  lives on  the  line  every  day  to protect the people of New York. New York State must establish laws and toughen existing laws that  protect  the police   from   becoming  victims  of  criminals.  Far  too  many  law enforcement officers are being harassed, injured,  even  killed  while honoring  their  commitment  to  protect  and  serve  this  state. The Legislature has a responsibility to do everything we  can  to  protect our  brave  heroes,  our police officers, from violent criminals. This legislation contributes to that premise.

As far as the notion that police officers are "putting their lives on the line" goes, this doesn't seem to be a a reasonable justification for making the police a privileged class protected by their own special set of laws that the average citizen does not enjoy. Fisherman are putting their lives on the line every day, in order to bring you fish-sticks and crab legs. They have the most dangerous job in America, followed by loggers. In fact, police officers rarely make the top 10 list for most dangerous jobs in America, yet cabbies, truckers, even refuse truck workers are more likely to be killed at work than a police officer.

If we are going to give police officers this special protection, perhaps we should also demand that the police be held especially accountable for crimes which violate the public trust.

I propose that we make it a felony, to commit a crime, while employed as a police officer, and especially crimes committed while in uniform or on duty. All too often, we see just the opposite. Rather than police being held accountable for crimes and betrayal of the public trust, they are given special privilege and shown gross favoritism in every phase of the accountability process. Doesn't the Legislature have every responsibility to do everything they can to protect the citizens of this state, before giving special privilege and protection to a select group of individuals?

The following links will show you just how unbalanced justice really is, between we the people, and they, the stormtroopers of the privileged class.

What Can We Learn From Criminal Complaints Against Cops?

Child Molester Cop Gets No Prison Time

D.A.'s Office Complicit in Brutality Coverup

SWAT Get Medals For Shooting at Innocent Family in Botched Raid

Cop Made Chief After Conviction for Negligent Fatal Shooting of Motorist

Firing With Intent: Are American Cops Out of Control






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