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.

Original Article