New York Senate Passes Bill to Make “Annoying” a Cop a Felony

By on June 10, 2013

by Ali Papademetriou

New York’s state Senate approved a measure last week, S2402, which would make “aggravated harassment” of a police officer a crime – but not just any crime – a felony charge. Senator Joseph Griffo first introduced the bill in January. It passed the Committee on Codes in May with 11 ayes and 4 nays, and the Senate passed it last Wednesday with 50 ayes and 13 nays.

If passed by the Assembly, which is where it is now headed, and signed by Governor Cuomo, S2402 would charge a citizen with a Class E felony charge if they harass a cop.

Police officers all across this state put their lives on the line every day to protect the people of New York,” reads the bill. “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,” reads the legislation. While the New York State Legislature may deem its law enforcement officers as “brave heroes”, civil liberties advocates may sometimes think otherwise.

While the bill does not specify what exactly would be determined as harassment toward a cop, it does explain that it would be an amendment to the penal law. “Section one amends the penal law by adding a new section 240.33 establishing the crime of aggravated harassment of a police officer or peace officer,” reads the legislation.

According to the penal law, first-degree aggravated harassment includes the “intent to harass, annoy, threaten or alarm another person.” This poses the question as to whether or not simply “annoying” an officer could be deemed as a felony, which also brings to question what exactly would be considered “annoyance”?

Equivocally, the penal law also includes that if an offender carves, paints, draws or in any way puts a Nazi German swastika or noose on someone’s property, they could be charged because it could represent racism. Arson is included as well.

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7 Comments

  1. Paul W Fassett

    June 10, 2013 at 7:14 pm

    “New York State must establish laws and toughen existing laws that protect the police from becoming victims of criminals.”

    I thought that’s what those guns strapped to their hips was for?

    • Andy Reid

      June 11, 2013 at 9:28 pm

      As a former police officer, I don’t agree with the guns on the hips thing. I firmly believe as a police officer, community relations are the most important. I felt the need to give my community the best I could offer. People doing antics against the police is a given. Hell, I used to do it to some of the guys I worked for when I was a kid. Harassing us may be annoying, but it’s also part of the job. The only time it bothered me and I’d take action was when it was a threat against myself, someone else or my family. Then… it was game on, mother******. I feel that yes, we have to do our jobs with respect to our citizens, but I won’t take threats from anybody. I’d rather lose my job and go to jail then worry about some scroatbag who has it out for my family or friends. But, I still believe New Joke is going overboard and need to realize that to get respect, you have to give it as well. Any cop should know that, and sadly, most don’t. Hence, why I left.

  2. LA Dude

    June 10, 2013 at 9:44 pm

    Very Bad Law. It is a sad day.

  3. Sandy w

    June 11, 2013 at 12:18 am

    Time to call the Governor and say no this is a very bad idea .

  4. Alex

    June 11, 2013 at 11:31 am

    When are they gonna pass laws to protect the citizens from the police? Let’s not pretend that the NYPD isn’t famous for its brutality and unfair treatment of citizens. I am disgusted

    • F. W. Oneal

      June 17, 2013 at 5:49 am

      Agreed.

  5. F. W. Oneal

    June 17, 2013 at 5:47 am

    I’ve met really good guys who are cops. I’ve known the flipside of that coin as well. But as a citizen who says who is harassing who? What qualifies? If I insist on seeing a badge number, is that harassment? Clearly it telegraphs a type of threat. I threat to go over an officer’s head. What makes me ask is at 2AM this morning an elderly woman (late 80s) with a cane walked into my work place trying to get help because she had locked herself out of her home down the street. She’s on foot. A cop stops her and ask her what she was doing. She explains she was trying to reach a phone to call a relative for help. Did the officer do anything to help her in any way? No. Instead he threatened to write her a ticket for J-walking and sends her on her way. But, he can press felony charges because he got his feelings hurt. Really? What the hell is wrong with our country these daze? Really.

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