New York Legislators Seek to Make it Illegal to Annoy Cops

Their lives already are deemed, by law, to be more worthy than yours. In most, if not all states, there are special penal code sections for assault or battery on an officer, as opposed to assault or battery upon an ordinary person. Similarly, there are special penal code sections for killing police officers. You know, because writing traffic tickets and busting people for drugs is so noble a profession that all police officers are clearly a higher order of human being.

They have a right to kill people as long as they utter a few magic words – “I feared for my life.” Killings of innocent, harmless people almost always go unpunished as long as the offending officer claims that he was scared for his life – no matter how unreasonable, cowardly, or absurd the circumstances. Even if the victim was a half-deaf, hobbling, disabled old man.

Although many Americans are still deluded and patriotic enough to believe that Americans are free, and subject to a somewhat functional justice system in which people are “innocent until proven guilty,” this simply isn’t the case. The lives of the powerful and hallowed police, the foot soldiers of the state, are protected with harsher criminal laws, and their violent behavior is protected with qualified immunity. Because of course, while ordinary people should be personally accountable for negligence and personal injuries they cause, it would be simply absurd to hold the same standard to police.

Police, who are supposed to uphold the law and “protect” people, also have the right to arrest people for absolutely no reason. As it currently stands, in the vast majority of the states, police have the legal right to arrest people for no reason. Don’t even try to guess the reasons for that one – they are all bogus. “Oh, we have to be exempt from the law to properly execute the law. We have to arrest you to protect you. We have to break the law to uphold the law, etc.”

Despite all the very real ways in which police are subject to greater legal protections, and possess stronger, greater, legal rights, this is not enough.

There are now legislators who seek to make it illegal to annoy cops. I’ve often hyperbolically referred to police as “gods” in the past, since people illogically feel it is justified for police to be subject to different laws, and maintain greater power than the people they allegedly serve. Now it hardly seems like hyperbole or exaggeration in the least.

New York legislators are attempting to make it a felony for an individual to “annoy, harass, or threaten” a police officer. Offenders could be imprisoned for up to 4 years. Oh boy, that sounds like a great idea. I can’t possibly think of any First amendment or due process concerns there. That law definitely won’t be used by police to imprison, frame, harass, or silence random people they don’t like.

As justification, the legislators claim, “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…” More here.

As far as I can tell, injuring and killing police officers in unjustified situations are already illegal. Thus, the point of this law cannot possibly be to prevent that from happening, as there are already laws in place for that purpose. This would the same as saying that a law against annoying/pestering/harassing women should be passed, because too many women are being raped and killed. The former simply has nothing to do with the latter.

Secondly, police officers may put their lives on the line occasionally. Or everyday. I really don’t give a fuck. But for the most part, it has little to do with protecting people. They do what they do for a paycheck, like everyone else. Every day they show up at work, they tell themselves and each other, “officer safety first.” They do whatever they are told, whether it be shooting disabled old men, tasering children and half deaf women, beating teenagers for loitering, shooting Sunday school teachers in parking lots, shooting firemen in court, killing parents who smoke weed, stealing peoples’ property to pad their paychecks with civil asset forfeiture, or a slew of other less-than-noble pursuits.

They do good things sometimes too – fine. There are even cops that do good things all the time. I get it. But they are not gods. They are not infallible. They are human like everyone else. They want that paycheck, like everyone else. They do what their boss tells them, like everyone else – except when they do taser children and shoot old people, they don’t get fired, because they have a myriad of laws protecting them, and your endless taxpayer dollars to fund their endeavors.

So for christ’s sake, stop treating them like gods. If it isn’t illegal to annoy, pester, or irritate the guy who builds peoples’ homes, the farmer who feeds people and prevents starvation, and the millions of other fine folks without whose expertise people literally would not be alive – then it sure as fuck should not be illegal to annoy the police.

Georgia Sand

Georgia (George) Sand is an attorney located in sunny California. She enjoys beer, jogging, the beach, music, and chatting with her cats in her spare time.