However, the bill is extremely vague and does not provide descriptions as to exactly what would be an example of inciting violence against police.
As it is now, we’ve seen numerous examples of police nationwide stretching the definition of “inciting a riot” to arrest protesters, not that those charges ever stick in court.
So there is no doubt they would take advantage of this law to crack down on any form of dissent.
Besides, there already is the more concrete law of “menacing a police officer” in New York, which goes into great detail of what a citizen needs to do in order to be found guilty of that crime.
The bill reads as follows:
A PERSON IS GUILTY OF INCITING VIOLENCE AGAINST A POLICE OFFICER WHEN, WITH THE INTENTION OF INCITING OR PRODUCING IMMINENT VIOLENCE AGAINST A POLICE OFFICER, HE OR SHE ADVOCATES VIOLENCE AGAINST ONE OR MORE POLICE OFFICERS THAT IS LIKELY TO INCITE OR PRODUCE SUCH VIOLENCE.
INCITING VIOLENCE AGAINST A POLICE OFFICER IS A CLASS D FELONY.
Not only is the bill vague, but it is written in a way to give police leeway to make felony arrests on mere assumptions, groundless paranoia or routine retaliation by including words like “intention” and “advocates” along with the phrase “likely to incite violence.”
This could easily turn into a thought crime because without verbal proof or physical evidence, how can an officer know what a person advocates or intends to do?
And by including the word “likely,” it broadens the law even more where it would be almost impossible to prove it was an unlawful arrest.
It’s easy to see that police would waste no time to use this law to crackdown on free speech where all somebody has to say is “fuck the police” or even play the song, “Fuck tha Police,” to claim they were in fear for their lives.
The law is so broad that, if passed, it would surely lead to multiple lawsuits against police, not that police have ever used that factor as a deterrent from making unlawful arrests.
Just compare the above bill with the existing law to note the difference between vague and concrete.
Earlier versions of the harassment bill have not been turned into law, probably because there are already laws forbidding citizens to strike, shove or kick officers.
The stalking a police law would make it a crime to follow, contact or telephone police, including with the use of “unauthorized GPS tracking.”
The bill, which is still in committee, refers to the popular navigation app called Waze, but it is worded so horribly that it is not clear if it is trying to ban the use of the app to track cops or is it only using it to refer to a previous incident where police were killed by a man using the app.
But if that’s the case, then maybe they should just stop wearing uniforms and driving marked patrol cars.
Just read the last section of the bill below to see if you can make sense of it.
“We will not tolerate the senseless and cowardly acts of violence against our police officers as they put their lives on the line every day to protect us. We have seen a surge in violent crimes against on-duty police officers so ensuring their safety has never been more important. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues to strengthen New York’s criminal justice laws.”