Legislation would make officer harassment a Class E felony

Legislation has been introduced in the state Senate that would make harassment of police officers a Class E felony.

S.6641 was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Chris Jacobs, R-Buffalo. It would amend the state Penal Law to create a first-degree standard for menacing a police or peace officer and make a violation a Class E felony. The state’s Criminal Procedure Law would be amended to add menacing a police officer or peace officer to the list of offense that exempt a police officer from writing an appearance ticket.

First-degree menacing a police officer would include situations in which a person intentionally places or attempts to place a police officer or peace officer in reasonable fear of physical injury, serious physical injury or death by displaying a deadly weapon, knife, pistol, revolver, rifle, shotgun, machine gun or other firearm, whether operable or not, where such officer was in the course of performing his or her official duties and the defendant knew or reasonably should have known that such victim was a police officer or peace officer.

Second-degree menacing a police officer or peace officer would encompass situations in which a person intentionally assaults a police officer by throwing or spraying water or any other substance on an officer who is performing official duties and when the person should have known or reasonably known the person was a police or peace officer.

“Our police officers deserve respect for keeping our streets safe day in and out,” said Sen. John Flanagan, R-Smithtown and Senate minority leader. “No person should feel empowered to intimidate an officer by disrespectfully dumping water on them and obstructing that officer from protecting communities. After the very first incident, I made clear that the Senate Republican Conference will always stand on the side of law enforcement, public safety, and victims’ rights. This is unacceptable, and it has to stop.”


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