Nassau County Executive Vetoes Bill That Would Punish People For Making Cops Feel Bad

from the but-an-underlying-problem-remains dept

Good news in Nassau County, New York. The stupid law that turned not being sufficiently deferential to cops (or other first responders) into a quasi-hate crime has been rejected by the head of Nassau County's government, accompanied by a message to the stupid legislators who passed it. (via Michael Vario)

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran on Tuesday vetoed a bill to give police and other first responders the right to sue under the county Human Rights Law when they face "discrimination" from protesters or others.


In her veto letter to lawmakers, Curran acknowledged the "genuine concern" of community members "that the law would intimidate free citizens from engaging in peaceful demonstrations without fear of retaliation."

Citing an opinion from state Attorney General Letitia James, Curran pointed out the obvious: the new bill -- which criminalized "harassing" first responders (but really mostly cops) -- didn't have a chance in hell of surviving a constitutional challenge, especially when it tied increased legal penalties to acts occurring during "riots" (even if the person charged was not actually rioting).

Curran continued: "There is no consensus among elected officials and the public that this current legislation is necessary, carefully crafted and without negative consequences."

Well, there was enough of a consensus the bill was passed by a margin of 12-6. That the consensus is wrong about the bill's necessity and the quality of the craftsmanship is the larger problem and it indicates there will be similar proposals in the future, especially since local law enforcement can't seem to be disabused of the notion that a career choice isn't an immutable characteristic worthy of protection from discrimination.

Of course, police unions are still complaining about this completely expected turn of events.

“First responders are sometimes treated as second class citizens, Jennifer,” Nassau PBA board member Thomas O’Reilly told CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan. “We feel very hurtful about that. We thought this was a good bill.

Odd that a cop rep would admit to "feeling hurtful" about events that didn't go their way. Seems inadvertently revealing.

But notice that the only first responders unions complaining are those representing cops. People have no problem with EMTs and firefighters -- first responders who almost never subject people to excessive force or rights violations. The whining from the Police Benevolent Association continues:

“We shouldn’t be spit on. We shouldn’t have water thrown on us. We shouldn’t be intimidated and harassed and people blowing smoke in our face,” O’Reilly said.

OH MY GOD. How do your officers even cope with actually dangerous criminals, who are capable of far more than making them feel wet or otherwise mildly uncomfortable?

The bigger problem is a law already on the books which will encourage legislators who think the PBA makes good points to keep plugging away at expanding protection of police officers at the expense of the rights of the people they serve.

The Legislature in 2019 extended protections against discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodations to veterans and first responders.

That's the foot that will remain in the legislative door until that one finally comes off the books. As long as it remains, it will be exploited by opportunists who somehow believe cops just don't have enough power or protections.

Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: 1st amendment, discrimination, free speech, nassau county, police

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 17 Aug 2021 @ 2:10am

    Said it before, kinda sayin’ it again: When cops seem to have less restraint than retail workers in the face of shitty behavior by the general public, what does that say about the cops?

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Discord

Introducing the new Techdirt Insider Chat, now hosted on Discord. If you are an Insider with a membership that includes the chat feature and have not yet been invited to join us on Discord, please reach out here.

Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.