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Can You Believe That “Annoying” A Police Officer Might Become A Felony In New York Soon?

Submitted by on June 10, 2013 – 11:16 amNo Comment
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Stay away from police officers! That’s the message that the New York State Senate is trying to send right now. Recently, they passed a bill that would make it illegal to “annoy” or “alarm” a police officer while he or she is on duty. The bill, which was passed last Wednesday, would also make aggravated harassment of a police officer a felony, punishable by up to four years in prison! Can you believe that? Four years in jail just for “annoying” a police officer in some way. It’s a “crime” that police departments all over the state of New York have been trying to police for years now.

So what does this mean to you? Does it mean that, if you ask a police officer for directions down in Times Square you could be subject to arrest? Does it mean that you’re no longer allowed to shout “HELP!” in a police officer’s direction when you’re in danger? Does it mean that you could literally be arrested for doing almost anything that might “annoy” a police officer? Fortunately, no. The New York State Senate isn’t taking it that far. Instead, their proposed law states that a person has to make physical contact with a police officer in order to “annoy” him or her.

“A person is guilty of aggravated harassment of a police or peace officer when, with the intent to harass, annoy, threaten or alarm [the officer while the officer is] engaged in the course of performing his or her physical duties, he or she strikes, shoves, kicks or otherwise subjects such person to physical contact,” the bill says.

In other words, you’re probably not in any danger of being arrested for “annoying” a police officer if you ask him or her a question. In fact, you’re not even in any danger of breaking this proposed law if you yell at a police officer or get upset with him or her (though, fair warning, you could be in violation of other laws). But if you decide to make any sort of physical contact with a police officer in the state of New York, you will be prosecuted for it. And that sounds fair enough to us. But just to be sure, we’ll be staying far, far, far away from police officers if this bill ends up turning into a law.

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