Home / New York Law Would Make it Felony to Annoy Cops

New York Law Would Make it Felony to Annoy Cops

gallivan

One of four republican senators who sponsored the bill.

 

New York politicians are hoping to pass a bill that would make it a felony to “harass, annoy or threaten” a cop in the line of duty, which would no doubt be used against citizens who record cops in public.

If passed, citizens convicted of the law could find themselves sentenced to four years in prison.

As many of us have learned, it doesn’t take much to annoy a cop. Taking photos of cops can get you beat up, handcuffed and arrested. And verbally protesting that arrest can get you charged with resisting arrest.

But up until now, police in New York would usually have to depend on obstructing governmental administration to arrest photographers, a misdemeanor charge that never sticks in court because it requires a defendant to have physically interfered with police while in the line of duty.

But now they want to throw people in prison for merely annoying cops?

The bill, which is described as having “far reaching consequences” by a New York news site, states the following:

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.

S 240.33 AGGRAVATED HARASSMENT OF A POLICE OFFICER OR PEACE OFFICER.

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.

In reading the fine print, we can see that in order to be convicted of this charge, one would have to strike, shove or kick or otherwise do something physical to the cop, which is not much different than the “assault on a peace officer” statute.

However, the assault on a peace officer charge (or its equivalent statute in respective states) is already abused by cops throughout the country when citizens’ faces inadvertently come in contact with cops’ fists during moments of uncontrollable police rage.

So you can imagine this law would be blatantly abused when New York cops find themselves annoyed by citizens for maybe asking too many questions, taking too many photos or simply demanding some type of accountability.

Just last week, a Washington woman who is deaf and did not hear a cop’s commands was charged with felony assault on a police officer after he punched her repeatedly for failing to heed his orders.

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The bill, sponsored by four republican state senators, was already approved by the State Senate and is on its way to the State Assembly, where if passed, would then go to Governor Andrew Cuomo who would have ten days to sign or veto the bill.

If signed, it will go into effect come November.

And once that happens, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has bragged about having the “seventh biggest army in the world,” would waste no time in encouraging the NYPD to use that law to crack down on anybody who questions their authority.

About Carlos Miller

Carlos Miller is founder and publisher of Photography is Not a Crime, which began as a one-man blog in 2007 to document his trial after he was arrested for photographing police during a journalistic assignment. He is also the author of The Citizen Journalist's Photography Handbook, which can be purchased through Amazon.
  • salxs

    This means if you are annoying an officer any reason, all they have to do is bump you to give them grounds for arrest. That is exactly what the NYPD
    will be trained to do if this passes. Makes stop and frisk look like a
    joke by comparison and is nothing short of a civil liberties disaster and total end of the constitution and bill of rights. No need to declare martial law with a bill like this.

    • Barking Dog

      how about this on You Tube? I was far enough away they couldn’t hear me when shouting

      watch?v=JREFsds-Jyc

  • Dan Matthews

    BOYCOTT NEW YORK CITY!!

  • rick

    I think felony “annoyance” is covered…
    http://ypdcrime.com/penal.law/article120.htm

    NY penal code
    120.08 Assault on PO–Class C felony
    C Violent Felony: 3 1/2 to 15 years
    C Non Violent Felony: No Jail, Probation, 1-2 years to 15 years

    120.11 Aggravated assault on PO–Class B felony
    B Violent Felony: 5-25 years
    B Non Violent Felony: 1-3, Max 25 years

    120.18 Menacing a PO–Class D felony
    D Violent Felony: 2-7 years
    D Non Violent Felony: No Jail, Probation, 1-3 to 7 years

  • steveo

    …..which makes recording your police encounters even more important. and which Sen. what’s his names legislation is still subservient to the 1st Amendment and the 5th Amendment.

  • Andrew Ogiba

    “The freedom of individuals verbally to oppose or challenge police action without thereby risking arrest is one of the principal characteristics by which we distinguish a free nation from a police state.” — City of Houston v. Hill, 482 U.S. 451

  • Kris Trainer Striversfitness

    This is just another reason to leave this country for someplace like Iceland where to voters have the power to put bankers and corrupt politicians in jail! Not charge someone with a felony for questioning authority. Welcome to the fascist states of America the incarci-nation…

  • stepanstas

    Well maybe it’s because of idiots like this lady who decides to follow cops around and ask the same question over and over again. http://photographyisnotacrime.com/2013/05/18/nypd-cops-arrest-woman-recording-them-apparently-steal-wrong-memory-card/

  • Guest

    Under this law this lady would not have been properly charged with this. “HE OR SHE STRIKES, SHOVES, KICKS OR OTHERWISE SUBJECTS SUCH PERSON TO PHYSICAL CONTACT.” This individual did none of the above.

  • GEORGE

    If they pass this, I will be sure to sever all ties with NY….government, businesses, people, etc. I don’t do business with communist States, or Countries.

  • ssalxs

    At least Senator Griffo was honest about the bill’s intent: “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.” http://www.nysenate.gov/press-release/senate-passes-bill-making-harassment-police-officer-crime

  • Joshua B.

    The prohibited act is striking, shoving, kicking or otherwise interfering with an officer through physical contact. The intent requirement “harass, annoy or threaten” is not the actus reus, it is simply part of the requisite mental state. In other words, to say this law would make it a felony to annoy cops is incorrect and misleading (sorry Carlos).

    Of course, any law making it illegal to “annoy” a police officer without physical contact would be flagrantly unconstitutional. See Houston v. Hill, 482 U.S. 451 (1987).

  • rick

    “Police officers all across this state put their lives on the line every day to protect the people of New York.”

    Bullshit.

    And this goes for all PD’s that trumpet this nonsense.
    Encountering danger in the course of their duties is NOT the same as putting their lives on the line to protect others. Again and again and again police have made it crystal clear that officer safety comes first.

  • Difdi

    Call them what they are. The communist label gets overused, misapplied, and just makes you sound like a conspiracy nut to the people you’re trying to convince.

  • greenthumb07

    You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

  • Difdi

    Garbage collection is more necessary to our civilization than law enforcement — People can defend themselves and their homes if police are not there (and usually end up doing so) but a plague is stopped only by prevention.

    Garbage collectors suffer several times the on-the-job injury and death rates that police officers do, plus police officers don’t have to wade through filth as a standard part of their job description. Most cops have clean shoes.

    Garbage collectors don’t put their hands on holy books and swear to uphold and enforce the law, defend the constitution, etc.

    Almost every single reason that exists for giving cops a break, an easier (if not outright free) ride and passing laws to shield them also exists even more strongly for giving garbage men a break, an easier/free ride and protective laws.

    The one reason the police have going for them over a garbage man for kid glove treatment is the garbage man probably won’t be much use if ordered to unlawfully violate people’s rights.

  • tiny

    NEW YORK STATE, who the fuck in their right mind would want to live there? i ask everyone? not me, this annoys me, arrest all them assholes that would even consider this butthead law!

  • tiny

    officer safety hell with that shit, they out there to protect me, not them. this is what they get paid to do, not worry if they make it home in one piece, but if get home in one piece! but this is now what the police have become, they are in war with US! [if ya not a COP, your the enemy-PERIOD!!!], bother them? give me a fucking break!

  • james

    stop the bullshit police are not firemen. there is no excuse for the violent behavior all over the nation.

  • Eric

    I was in NYC the other day. Their cruisers say:

    Courtesy
    Professionalism
    Respect

    I looked at it and said to myself…. Are they now making a list of things the don’t do?

  • spiritanimals

    “Police officers all across this state put their lives on the line every day to protect the people of New York.”

    Perfect example: the two goon cops who stood idly by while a man was getting stabbed in the head while trying to subdue a knife-wielding, murdering psycho and then the piggies took credit for disarming and apprehending the attacker while it was the victim who did all the work

  • Difdi

    I notice it’s not illegal under the proposed law to shoot an officer. Odd oversight, that.

  • Guest

    That problem is easily overcome by the officer. In the report the officer would simply write, “subject repeatedly struck my fist with her face with the intent to annoy.”

  • greenthumb07

    Isn’t assault or battery already a crime?

  • ssalxs

    Game Over – NY senators vote for defacto martial law
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6S9xIy8Dw84

  • JdL

    Poor pathetic little cops! Is there any group of people as delicate and sensitive as they are? They routinely dish out insults, blows, and felony charges of “assault” (touching them in any way, however inadvertent), but do ANYTHING to hurt their sensitive little feelings, and it’ll be a felony.

    Government thugs are rapidly becoming a parody of themselves. Even George Orwell never imagined what the U.S. is rapidly becoming today.

  • io-io

    So, under this possibly soon to be law, all unlawful orders from the police become lawful, under the threat of 4 years in the slammer.

  • Proud GrandPa

    Everyone,

    My reading of the included text provided in the artical indicates the law applies only to actual physical contact, not to non-physical conversation or photography, preaching, or speaking. Here is the relevant text with caps:

    A PERSON IS GUILTY…WHEN… WITH INTENT…HE OR SHE STRIKES, SHOVES, KICKS OR OTHERWISE SUBJECTS SUCH PERSON TO PHYSICAL CONTACT.
    The crime has several elements not found in sidewalk preaching, or photography, or political rallies, or abortion mill counseling, or anti-tax protests, or post game revelry. The two biggest are “INTENT” and “PHYSICAL CONTACT.”
    Given the elements one could justify protecting LEOs from negligent or deliberate physical contact intended to harass or annoy LEOs. That should prevent mobs from interfering with officers and also prevent officers from censoring free speech.

  • Tijuana Joe

    Read the fine print….you also have to polish their shoes and/or badge if requested.

  • Carlos_Miller

    I cleared that up in my story. The bill is misleading, not the story. Do you think cops actually read the fine print of the laws they enforce?

    All they will see is that annoying a cop is an arrestable offense.

  • james

    this is what they want total athoratarian power. no consequences for their actions. some day soon a bunch of state thugs will do something stupid. kill a politicians daughter , wife or friend abd this shit will hit the fan.

  • Proud GrandPa

    Yes, they do. And they get fired for blatant disregard of the law. Here is the law:

    My reading of the included text provided in the article indicates the law applies only to actual physical contact, not to non-physical conversation or photography, preaching, or speaking. Here is the relevant text with caps:

    A PERSON IS GUILTY…WHEN… WITH INTENT…HE OR SHE STRIKES, SHOVES, KICKS OR OTHERWISE SUBJECTS SUCH PERSON TO PHYSICAL CONTACT.
    The crime has several elements not found in sidewalk preaching, or photography, or political rallies, or abortion mill counseling, or anti-tax protests, or post game revelry. The two biggest are “INTENT TO …” and “PHYSICAL CONTACT.”

  • james

    how far does comply go.

  • greenthumb07

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! I had to read that again. Many, many, many police officers don’t get fired for blatant disregard for the law.

  • Mike

    @proudgrandpa……uh, wrong. the cops don’t get fired for breaking the law…..they get promoted.

  • ihatespam

    This is all part of the plan to disarm the populace. FELONS cant own guns. Make felony charges easy and with broad strokes and done. Welcome to fascism

  • Proud GrandPa

    They all get fired or they change their ways, if you sue their employers often enough and for enough money. This is how we won our civil rights cases to restore religious free speech in schools again and allow Bible clubs back in public schools. It took us twenty years and millions of dollars. We won and we still sue if there are any violations, which are extremely rare. And the cops always comply now after the first lawyer letter. Always…

    .

    Learn history (from your elders who’ve already fought and won.) We’ve proven it works. Been there… done that. Mission accomplished. Cops do learn.

    .

    If you don’t believe me, just name me one public school anywhere in the USA that bans religious students’ free speech based upon religious content. You cannot. The cops no longer detain religious students.
    .

  • Concerned

    Carlos,

    The bill was sponsored by NINE Senators, FIVE of whom must be Democrats, since you deliberately stated twice that FOUR Republicans sponsored the bill (It is clearly in the text of the bill). The way in which you did that would lead one to believe that these four Republicans were the SOLE sponsors of the bill , of which they are clearly not. This was a DEMOCRAT majority bill. What you do is important, so please do not lose your credibility over your political bias.

  • LibertyTreeBud

    Oh, I don’t know, remember that scene in the movie: Soilent Green where the garbage truck came through the hungry rioting crowd and ‘scooped’ them up and deposited them into the truck to be made into soilent green chips?:)

  • Barking Dog

    good one. live here. gonna use that…

  • Dan Matthews

    I think it just depends on how the cop writes up his report.

  • Hesienberg

    I am kind of dumb, what is intent of physical contact. I guess the law means assaulting an officer, they have a law like this on the book I think it is called striking an officer, why is this law needed? I am confused why the law is needed?

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