Annoying an officer is now a felony

June 9, 2013

It is now  felony in New York city to "annoy" a police officer.

Like many other laws, it sounds like a good idea to some people - I mean isn't it rude to go around annoying people while they are trying to serve and protect you?

But the fact is, as police have shown us time and time again - these laws will be completely misapplied and given such a broad meaning, that it can and will be used by police everywhere as a countermeasure for people exercising their first amendment rights.

We already saw the way that police have treated peaceful protesters - especially in New York city during the Occupy Wall Street protests. There were many acts of violence by the police against people protesting. And now they have implemented a law that can be used against every single one of those people to label them as felons and make them serve jail time. But because of the sheepish nature of most americans and the fear of knowing that a felony - no matter how heroic the cause may have been - can affect a person's ability to find employment, housing, credit or more; we can expect that these laws will serve as a deterrent for people speaking out in protest against their government.

If you're one of the people who think "that would never happen in America" - think again. There are many laws already in place that are already used in similar ways. They are laws that on the surface sound like good ideas, but are flawed in that no matter how good the prosecuting attorney and officer's testimony, the chance of a conviction is slim to none. But they are still popular charges because if flipping off an officer is insulting to him, he will give you the ultimate slap in the face by arresting you and charging you with one of these crimes. Like they say "you can beat the rap but you can't beat the ride." This is one of the places where that phrase comes from. They know you won't end up in jail, but its an insult of retaliation to make you sit in jail for a few hours or days and have to make a few court appearances and even post bail.

What are some of these crimes?

Public intoxication: Again this SOUNDS like a great idea - who wants a bunch of drunks running around wreaking havoc on your city? The problem is that most people arreste for public intoxication are not drunk. Although they are taken to a police station that usually has at least one form of alcohol test, and at least one officer who is trained in field sobriety tests - the tests are never given. They excuse themselves by saying that these tests are not necessary because they are only required if you were driving. But if you are falsely charged with public intoxication, those tests would actually exhonorate you from the charges. And if you really are drunk, why wouldn't they want to at least have some sort of evidence to show the court? They would rather walk in there empty handed? The real reason is that these are arrests that officers can and do make all the time without any consequences. Since there are no alcohol tests you can never prove that it was an illegal arrest. The point is just to bully you and waste your time and money.

Inciting a riot: This is another one that sounds like a great idea. But watch the video to the right and ask yourself what she is being charged with? There have been many people arrested for the similar acts and charged with inciting a riot. I don't have any information on the woman arrested in this video, but you can see that none of the officers are willing to state what she is being arrested for. This is simply a charge that police can use to dispose of someone who is completely within their right of exercising their free speech, whether against the government or not. These are specifically the acts that the founders of this country had in mind when they wrote the first amendment. And yet these laws are being used as weapons against the first amendment itself.

So back to the new law about annoying on officer. Can you start to see how a law like that can be construed to make almost any act a person can do as an annoyance? Can you see how someone can be arrested for this, and how difficult it would be to prove criminal intent in any case? Can you see how useless this law actually is in deterring crime, but how effective it is in defeating the first amendment? If you think that it's not, I challenge you to prove me wrong. Go to new york and exercise your freedom of a speech in a way that they don't like. Speak out against something they are doing that you don't believe in and see how long until you are arrested for one of the baseless charges mentioned above.

These laws need to be repealed. We don't need new laws for the government to control people. We need new laws for the people to control the government. We are not the government's property, but the government belongs to all of us.

A bonus video here is the marine from the video above talking about his confrontation.

Some related articles:

http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2013/06/07/annoying-a-cop-is-still-legal-in-new-york/

http://www.infowars.com/ny-senate-passes-bill-that-would-make-annoying-a-cop-a-felony/

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/06/07/1214483/-NY-Senate-Makes-It-A-Felony-To-Annoy-a-Police-Officer


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