from the when-i-think-about-[cops],-i-touch-myself-...-i-touch-myself dept
I’m not sure what’s happening in the New York legislature, but a whole lot of NY politicians appear to believe law enforcement officers — some of the most powerful public servants in the nation — are some ultra-rare species of easily frightened lagomorphs, incapable of performing their jobs without being protected from the people they serve.
Last week, US Congresswoman Claudia Tenney served up a bill that would codify qualified immunity for law enforcement, claiming this was necessary because people whose rights have been trampled are too litigious and cops are dying at an alarming rate. Ignored were the uncomfortable facts that qualified immunity is an enabler of the bad apples who spoil the cop bunch and cops are dying of communicable viruses, rather than the guns and bullets of bad guys.
Following in the footsteps of Tenney’s bad bill and an unseemly amount of so-called “Blue Lives Matter” laws, comes this terrible legislative pitch from a handful of Nassau County (NY) lawmakers. Having utterly failed to read the room, these legislators think the time is right to convert cops (and other first responders) into a protected class. (via Adam Steinbaugh)
Here’s the bill’s [PDF] pitch in all-caps form:
A LOCAL LAW TO AMEND THE NASSAU COUNTY ADMINISTRATIVE CODE IN RELATION TO AMENDING THE NASSAU COUNTY HUMAN RIGHTS LAW TO PRECLUDE DISCRIMINATION AGAINST FIRST RESPONDERS
How does one “discriminate” against a “first responder,” which is an employment choice, rather than an immutable characteristic? Good question. But you’re not going to get a straight answer. Instead, you’re going to get gaslighted. Up is down, left is right, anti-police brutality protests violate the rights of citizens. Yes, you just read exactly what you think you read.
It is the judgment of this legislature that the recent widespread pattern of physical attacks and intimidation directed at the police has undermined the civil liberties of the community at large. It has been reported that over seven hundred federal, state and local law enforcement officers have sustained injury in civil unrest since the close of May of last year, according to United States Department of Justice data.
Even if it is accurate to say that nationwide protests against police violence resulted in an inordinate number of officers being injured, that should be expected. 2020 saw more than its share of protests — the sort of spike that could only produce a spike in officer injuries. But that is part of this job, just like qualified immunity, arbitration, lax oversight, the backing of powerful government officials, and a separate and unequal “bill of rights” are. The good comes with the bad. That’s the way it goes. But making this assertion ignores the inevitable result of an increased number of protests, as well as the years of nonexistent oversight and biased policing that led to the protests stemming from the casual murder of an unarmed black man by a white police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The pro-cop fanfic continues for several paragraphs. This would be normal if this were a Facebook group post rather than legislation being introduced by Long Island legislators. Dogs and cats living together indeed.
This Legislature notes with extreme concern that in many jurisdictions, outbreaks of destructive rioting and lawlessness have deliberately targeted and victimized law enforcement officers and other first responders. This Legislature further recognizes that the clear intent of some of these attacks is to hinder or prevent the police from performing their duty to enforce the law and safeguard society rom chaos and mass violence.
Ok. Whatever. Brace yourself. It’s gets even stupider.
It is the emphatic judgment of the Legislature that no law enforcement officer should be subjected to actual or threatened physical assault and abuse in the performance his or her duties ~ not only because police officers are human beings deserving of respect, dignity and equal protection of Law, but also because they are the indispensable first line of defense for everyone’s fundamental civil and human rights.
LOL. Cops are the protectors of civil and human rights. OK, Karen. Maybe if you think “protecting civil rights” means “oppressing anyone not as rich or as white as me.” Police are not about protecting rights. They love to violate those rights, resting peacefully in the fact that qualified immunity will get them off. Failing that, their extremely advantageous contracts with the cities they serve will allow them to be reinstated as law enforcement officers. Again and again and again. If cops really cared about human rights and civil liberties, they wouldn’t violate them so often. And they wouldn’t be so abjectly terrible about solving crimes perpetrated on the citizens they’re supposed to be acting as a “thin blue line” to protect against.
#NotAllCops tweeted the legislators:
Importantly, this Legislature expressly disavows any intent to excuse or minimize the ‘gravity of incidents of police misconduct that have occurred in this country, especially those which may be motivated by racial intolerance. Because these wrongful acts are done in the name of law, they are especially corrosive to the rule of law. We believe that our law enforcement personnel join us in condemning such misconduct. Yet acts of misconduct by individual officers can never under any circumstances justify the vilification of all law enforcement personnel or acts of violence directed at police.
Liars. You’re all liars. You won’t even “vilify” the “bad apples” you feel don’t represent the whole bunch. Until law enforcement is willing to clean up its own act, vilification of all police officers is justified. The presence of “good apples” does not un-rotten the rest of the barrel. Until law enforcement agencies are willing to treat abusive cops as the abusers they are, nothing will change.
You can read the rest of the preamble if you have a kink for vomiting in your own mouth. When you’re done, join the rest of us in reading the goddamn proposal, which is as dumb as it is stupid.
It shall be an unlawful discriminatory practice for any person to harass, menace, assault or injure an individual due to such individual’s status as a first responder and such unlawful discriminatory practices are hereby prohibited. Where such first responder is in uniform, or is otherwise dearly identified as a first responder, there is an irrebuttable presumption that such harassment, menacing, assault or injury is motivated by such individual’s status as a first responder.
“Assault” already means inadvertently bumping into a police officer during an altercation/interaction. “Menace” tends to mean some officer states in court they felt “afraid.” Harassment is such a broad term that anything from phoning in bomb threats to “sent a couple of heated DMs” will be considered a violation. “Injure” is the only term that can be defined solidly by its results, but even then, it only means an officer sustained an injury in the line of duty — something that is bound to happen. But with this law in place, it means the officer can sue the person who injured them.
This isn’t just asinine. It’s also redundant. The definition of assault in this bill cite Sec. 120 of New York law — a section that already covers everybody being given even more legislative shielding by this bill. Brace yourself yet again, but this time for a fucking wall of text that already says assaulting “first responders” is its own crime.
With intent to prevent a peace officer, a police officer, prosecutor as defined in subdivision thirty-one of section 1.20 of the criminal procedure law, registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, sanitation enforcement agent, New York city sanitation worker, a firefighter, including a firefighter acting as a paramedic or emergency medical technician administering first aid in the course of performance of duty as such firefighter, an emergency medical service paramedic or emergency medical service technician, or medical or related personnel in a hospital emergency department, a city marshal, a school crossing guard appointed pursuant to section two hundred eight-a of the general municipal law, a traffic enforcement officer or traffic enforcement agent, from performing a lawful duty, by means including releasing or failing to control an animal under circumstances evincing the actor’s intent that the animal obstruct the lawful activity of such peace officer, police officer, prosecutor as defined in subdivision thirty-one of section 1.20 of the criminal procedure law, registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, sanitation enforcement agent, New York city sanitation worker, firefighter, paramedic, technician, city marshal, school crossing guard appointed pursuant to section two hundred eight-a of the general municipal law, traffic enforcement officer or traffic enforcement agent, he or she causes physical injury to such peace officer, police officer, prosecutor as defined in subdivision thirty-one of section 1.20 of the criminal procedure law, registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, sanitation enforcement agent, New York city sanitation worker, firefighter, paramedic, technician or medical or related personnel in a hospital emergency department, city marshal, school crossing guard, traffic enforcement officer or traffic enforcement agent.
What this law does is make it way more expensive for citizens to interact with officers who feel more offended than usual that someone bumped into them during the policing of a protest or traffic stop or an unjustified pat down or whatever
In addition to civil liability under subsection three of this section, any ‘person found to have violated the provisions of this section shall be subject to a civil penalty of no more than twenty-five thousand dollars per violation that shall be recoverable for and pavable to the aggrieved first responder. Where such violation is committed in the course of participating in riot. the penalty shall be no more than fifty thousand dollars.
AND THAT’S NOT ALL. Civil penalties also apply:
A first responder claiming to be aggrieved by a discriminatory practice under “subsection one of this section may commence a civil action in a court of competent jurisdiction for declaratory and injunctive relief and to recover ‘compensatory damages, punitive damages and attorney’s fees and costs and for ‘such other relief as the court may deem appropriate. Where violations of this section occur during the course of a riot in response to which the first responder is deployed such monetary damages shall be trebled. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this title, such civil action mav be commenced without ‘exhaustion of any administrative remedies which may be available to the first responder. A court of competent jurisdiction is hereby authorized to determine and award attorney’s fees to a prevailing first responder in such a civil action. A civil action commenced under this section must be within three years after the occurrence of the alleged unlawful discriminatory practice.
It’s a garbage law written by garbage legislators that will be embraced by garbage people, many of them also garbage legislators and garbage people currently employed as law enforcement officers. These legislators have gazed upon the current national climate and decided it’s the people they serve who are wrong. And, in fact, they have abdicated their responsibility to serve them. Instead, they will serve their own interests: fellow government employees who have seen multiple days of reckoning all over the nation and decided (as always) that it’s the governed who have stepped out of line.
Filed Under: blue lives matter, discrimination, first responders, nassau county, police, protected class