“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.” -- Senator Joe Griffo (R-C-I, Rome)

87 Responses to “New York state senate passes law making it a felony to annoy a police officer”

  1. Ian McLoud says:

    Fuck the police.

  2. Matthew says:

    What constitutes as annoyance?

    • awjt says:

       Exactly, it’s unconstitutional.

      • swankgd says:

        Did you read it?  Please read it and explain what’s unconstitutional about it.

        • NoBigGovDuh says:

          The same reason why I can tell you to go fuck yourself and it is not illegal.

          • swankgd says:

            Again, did you read it?  Please, quote the exact part of it that is unconstitutional.

          • Mark Lee McDonald says:

            Why don’t you quote the part that isn’t?

          • swankgd says:

            because I’m not the one making an assertion that needs to be backed up.

          • The unconstitutional part – which is to say nearly the whole part – is this part, “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.”

            BTW, the “ANNOY” bit is the bit that is so broad that it is likely to be found unconstitutional, or so I’d guess, although I’m not an asshole and won’t ask anyone to copy/paste something and pretend that they are constitutional scholars.

          • swankgd says:

            Seriously?  I’m an asshole for asking someone to back up their assertion with some reference to fact?  

          • jacklaughing says:

             When they start using this law to charge someone videotaping the cops with a felony, that should be unconstitutional. But that will definitely happen.

            So fuck the police and this law.

          • awjt says:

            We’re on the Internet, snarkyswank, I don’t have to back up anything.

  3. scopexPDX says:

    Sounds to me like, “Turn off your camera phone or I will arrest you.”

  4. GawainLavers says:

    I assume that’s mostly directed at combatting the terrible scourge of “dehumanizing stares.”

  5. Marja Erwin says:

    Felony charges for being harassed or beaten by cops. And being poor, or black, or brown, or protesting against injustice can annoy a police officer and ‘result in injuries.’ And people ask me why I hate America.

  6. mccrum says:

    “This is a necessary action because we can see from the rise in incidents that too many people in our society have lost the respect they need to have for a police officer. 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.”

    Forced respect is just the same as the real stuff.

    That said, this still needs to make it past the house and the governor.  What a stupid law.

    • crenquis says:

      …we can see from the rise in incidents that too many people in our
      society have lost the respect they need to have for a police officer…

      compulsory xkcd reference…

      (Also, whatever happened to earning respect?)

    • EH says:

      One wonders what he teaches his children about character and respect.

    • ThatThorn says:

       Holy shit, he actually said that? Wow. wow.

    • Dawn Grobe says:

       Can we add teachers to this law?

      • Marja Erwin says:

         Can we add teachers and remove cops from this law? Although I’ve had good, bad, and emotionally abusive teachers, and it won’t benefit the good ones enough and would benefit the abusive ones too much.

    • The Rizz says:

      “This is a necessary action because we can see from the rise in
      incidents that too many people in our society have lost the respect they
      need to have for a police officer.”

      I’d say that it’s more like police officers are getting the level of respect they actually deserve after recent actions.

      If you want respect, do something that actually makes you deserve it. What we have now is fear, and this law isn’t going to make that any better. If anything, it’s going to make things worse – when you know the guy with the badge can beat you to death if he thinks you looked at him funny, and he won’t get in trouble because all he has to do is say that you “annoyed” him and then “resisted arrest”, you’re definitely going to consider whether it’s safer to let them approach you, or kill them.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      I know that it’s not the most important thing, but that first sentence reads like it was written by a fifth grader.

    • Steve Nordquist says:

       Too many times, people will put their chests on the police officers’ and interviewees heads; take out inflated vinyl mallets; attach holsters full of short curved rye loaves; park; or install tacky glo-wire under a parked cruiser or investigation car. Clashing plaids have been spotted in some districts well north of Queens. The Legislature wants you to know that if you have an intent and police are around, you’re going to have to make sure you use the handy app to make sure none of the present ones remember that intent as alarming, threatening, harassing or annoying. Be ready for wetwork, be ready for well-couched tasing, Halon-3, have a sign that says ‘Not you, him!’, tip people you never met to shift suspicion, hand out poems explaining the disorder of an idiot savant Dianetic Clear; just know that that ‘too peaceful’ NYC thing is over. Yes, after passing Governor and House…any awful blind decade soon.

  7. jandrese says:

    So they just codified “Contempt of Cop”, so cops don’t have to put it down as “disturbing the peace” or other such catch-all charges. 

  8. missbloom says:

    I’d venture a guess that almost all police officers’ significant others have at some time or another poked, tickled, or pinched them “with intent to annoy.” So they will all be felons, I guess?

  9. OldBrownSquirrel says:

    OK, I checked the language of the bill, and it isn’t as bad as the headline makes it sound.  It requires physical contact with the intent to annoy etc.  From the headline, I’d assumed that someone could be convicted simply for having cop-annoyingly long hair.

    http://open.nysenate.gov/legislation/bill/S2402-2013

    “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 most jurisdictions, any such behavior would already be described as “assaulting” a police officer, so there isn’t necessarily much change here.  Of course, I expect people to be charged with bruising a cop’s knuckles with their faces (with intent to annoy), but like I said, that’s the status quo.

    • swankgd says:

      +1 for actually reading and saving me from making the same post.

    • mccrum says:

      So if we already have assaulting a police officer on the books as a law, why is this new one needed?  Wouldn’t it make more sense to just make assaulting an officer a felony?

      • swankgd says:

        This does slightly lower the threshold.  Assault generally requires intent to cause bodily harm.  This removes that intent and lowers the threshold of intent to “annoy” rather than “cause harm”.

        • Gilbert Wham says:

          You  don’t have the offence ‘common assault?

          • swankgd says:

            In the US?  No.  There is no definition of “Common Assault” in the US as far as I know.

            Here are all of the Assualt-related laws in New York.
            http://ypdcrime.com/penal.law/article120.htm

            All of them include some reference to bodily injury, except in the case where there is an attempt to actually prevent a peace officer (or other official) from performing their job.  

            So it seems to me that this is definitely a NEW prohibition, not covered by any other existing law.

          • Andrew Singleton says:

            Seems like *officer grabs at person’s camera/phone* *person pulls away* *officer is annoyed. threshold to arrest achieved*

      • mccrum says:

        Oh, wait, I see assaulting an officer in New York is already a felony.  A Class C felony, which can carry up to ten years imprisonment.  Which would be more than the four years this proposes.

        Maybe they’re after something else then…

      • awjt says:

         Exactly.

    • EH says:

      Such tortured syntax can only serve to hide the purpose of the law. After all, if there’s already a law against assault, why is this one necessary? If Republicans are supposed to support smaller government, what good does this duplication serve?

      • Jeffrey Karter says:

         Republicans don’t “support” smaller government. They just “support” not paying for government.

      • Gulliver says:

        You think this is an exclusively Republican problem. That’s cute.

        Republicans and Democrats are symbionts. As long as voters believe only one party is to blame for corruption, the corrupt keep getting elected.

    • GlyphGryph says:

      See – the major difference is that before they’d have to argue that the officers knuckles were bruised. Now they should be able to get those bubble blowers and the folks with real soft pillowy faces too.

    • Bearpaw01 says:

      “… OR OTHERWISE SUBJECTS SUCH PERSON TO PHYSICAL CONTACT.”

      By not getting out of the way of their fists quickly enough, for instance.

    • knappa says:

      I don’t believe that the final clause really counts as assault:
      “OR OTHERWISE SUBJECTS SUCH PERSON TO PHYSICAL CONTACT”at least, not as I understand it.

    • IronEdithKidd says:

      Is all New York legislation written in caps with no punctuation?

    • Commas are not used capriciously in the legal world. The annoy clause is separate from the assault clause, so theoretically if a cop thinks you look too much like Carrot Top for his liking you could be facing felony charges. Since there is no definition for “annoy” the legislation is over broad and will be randomly and unevenly enforced. 

  10. Reed James says:

    To Serve, protect, and secretly beat the crap out of the nonconformists. 

  11. arsphenamine says:

    One problem with criminalizing ordinary behavior as a felony is
    that it lowers the disincentive against murder.

  12. jimh says:

    STOP RESISTING! *thump*
    STOP ANNOYING! *thump*
    STOP RESISTING! *thump*
    STOP ANNOYING! *thump*

  13. allenmcbride says:

    [Response to William Dudley Haywood on the other thread:] First past the post makes it harder for minority parties to be elected,
    but it can’t keep a solid majority from electing who it wants. I’m
    comforted by my belief that your Cop-Killing Party will never have such a
    majority. But let’s say it did… you argue that any elected
    representative would be denied a seat like Victor Berger was in 1918
    (sic). But how do you know it would happen like Victor Berger in 1919,
    and not like Victor Berger in 1911, 1923, 1925, and 1927, when he was
    seated? Your appeal to history seems selective.

  14. Perhaps they’re worried that legalization of marijuana will happen in the next few decades, and they’re just looking to start up an alternate revenue stream for the corporate-prison industry.

  15. tyger11 says:

    see also: “Know Your Rights” by the Clash

    #1: You have the right not to be killed (unless it was done by a policeman or an aristocrat)

  16. elix says:

    I wonder if jamming in Joe’s Garage would be enough to annoy a police officer.

    /He used to cut my grass. He was a very nice boy.

  17. Philboyd Studge says:

    Heh, New York state is rapidly turning into East Germany, with NYC the capitol. I wonder if future generations will tell harrowing tales of how they escaped during the Bloomberg years.

    • chris coreline says:

       i am actually pouring over Irelands immigration legislation to see if theres a way i can railroad my friends out of there.

      its ‘like escape from new york’ except… no actually, its pretty much exactly like escape from new york.

    • Reed James says:

       That seems like an exaggeration and very nearly a Goodwin’s law violation.

  18. Tim in SF says:

    Carlos Miller of the Photography Is Not a Crime blog sees it this way:

    “…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.”

    Personally, when I read this:”too many people in our society have lost the respect they need to have for a police officer.”In this context, “respect” is closer to “fear” and less so towards “deference.”  Cops in San Francisco, for the most part, deserve respect. They’re professionals and treat their job professionally. From what I’ve seen on the Interwebs about NY cops, they don’t have that in common. 

  19. pjcamp says:

    ” too many people in our society have lost the respect they need to have for a police officer.”

    Well that will get it back. Respect my authoritie!

  20. That_Anonymous_Coward says:

    Is it possible the Senator got confused?
    That they meant to make it a felony for a police officer who treats citizens with disrespect, harass them and create situations that can lead to injuries deserve to pay a price for their actions? 
    To not allow the union to protect someone who violates their duty to serve and protect and let them have a vacation after pepper spraying detained women and lying about it, or sodomize citizens with nightsticks and broom handles, to make lists of people they’d like to cook, and a host of other little things that seem to create situations that place the entire departments in a bad light.
    Surely this is what he meant to say…

  21. penguinchris says:

    I purposefully annoyed a police officer in New York a few weeks ago. They were doing “random” searches of cars at the airport. I was picking up my mother and had to do a couple laps around (since you can’t wait at the curb for more than a few seconds without the police harassing you). So of course I was “randomly” selected for a search.

    Officer asked where I was going. I said “the airport.” She replied condescendingly about why she was asking and as I was telling her that I answered her vague question with a valid response she decided to just wave me through.

    I assume she just didn’t want to deal with me. I guess I wouldn’t normally recommend being a smartass to get out of a situation with the cops, though it’s worked for me at the Canadian border too (in both directions) and I just can’t help myself. It’ll probably get me in real trouble some day.

    I almost never get annoyed or pissy with people, but every time I interact with the police or other authorities they piss me off. I think it’s part of their standard mode of operation in order to provoke people into doing things they can be arrested for, or counts as suspicious enough to warrant searching or whatever. Trying to lower that bar does not surprise me at all.

    • chris coreline says:

       yeah, from past observations i doubt this behavior will end well for you.
      remember the poliece can kill you, literally take out a gun and shoot you in the head – they will face no repercussions, you however, will be dead.

      myself, i cross the road when i see a pig these days.

  22. redesigned says:

    This makes me so upset I actually felt like going full Godwin!

  23. TheMudshark says:

    This insane muppet´s definition of respect is the same some violent 16-year-old thug´s would be, i. e. fear.

    True alpha behaviour, which is what a police officer ought to display, has nothing to do with being a macho asshole bully, demanding respect through threat of violence. True alpha behaviour rather commands respect through confidence, trustworthyness and looking out for the group.

    Fake alpha behaviour on the other hand, occurs when a beta personality is thrust into an alpha role but doesn´t understand the concept of true respect, which seems to be the case with most police officers. And now they´re about to be given the tools to live out their ugliest power trips.

  24. Sam Pourasghar says:

    It may actually be a good idea to ensure that cops aren’t unnecessarily annoyed, this could make them less effective at their jobs thus putting the public at risk. I know I don’t work very well when I’m annoyed, my mind just aint on it. HOWEVER, law enforcement can be dangerous and demanding and so should only be taken up by people who are much more thoroughly trained to not be annoyed easily. Every cop (new and old) will have to go through a rigorous set of tests to see exactly how easily they are annoyed, anyone falling short of this demanding score would fail but could take on lengthy anger management classes. Make it that if you want to be a cop you have to be remarkably thick skinned and cool under pressure or you can go to work in a mall instead. The tests would involve a gang of school children chanting “He’s a caca poopoo!” at the subject and seeing how long they take to break, walking past a crowd of people with cameras and NOT assaulting/arresting/killing them, being shown a series of situations and answering whether it would be ok to apply a taser shock or pepper spray or not, and if they get the answer wrong they are tasered or pepper sprayed. This would forge a set of sensible, super cool cops who handle situations with greater ease and who simply aren’t annoyed by trivial things. To annoy these guys you’d have to be pretty darn energetic.

    • TheMudshark says:

      Not to mention that such training would result in a significantly reduced number of situations fit to annoy cops altogether. There´s not much incentive to try and annoy a calm, self-confident police officer who is helpful to the community and therefore well-liked by most.

  25. rrh says:

    1) treat them with disrespect
    2) harass them
    3) create situations that can lead to injuries

    In other news, I hear they’re making a law against:
    1) Jaywalking
    2) Shoplifting
    3) Child molestation

  26. MoJo says:

    I understand jumping to the “dirty cops” that could abuse these laws, but they are the tiny minority.  Please remember that most cops are good, everyday people trying to do their job while dealing with those (that are legitimately doing illegal, harmful things) trying to make their lives hell. My husband is law enforcement officer and has to remain calm and civil on a daily basis to people acting like crazy animals. They are trying to cause him physical harm, being insulting, lying, trying to pry into his personal life, etc. Imagine being at your job  for 10+ hours a day with everyone trying to physically hurt/kill you, screaming at you, trying to irritate you, trying to learn if you have a family at home to harass, soiling themselves on purpose, etc. and maybe understand how hard it can be. I would love for my husband to have more protection at work , and I know most cops have no interest in busting people for petty, everyday things. They have enough to worry about than to start slapping people with ridiculous, unfounded charges.

  27. miasm says:

    Well you’ve done it now, do not pass Go and go straight to Jail.

    I mean down town you sonofabitch, those were my Hotels!

  28. Chrigid says:

    Considering how the police treat protesters, considering stop and frisk, considering the corruption, considering that they try to live as far away as possible from the people they are supposed to serve, we really do need to be forced by law to respect them. 

  29. jhertzli says:

    To be a bit crude: Does this mean it will be a felony to break wind in the vicinity of a police officer?

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