The New York State Senate passed legislation (S.5598) that would establish the new crime of inciting violence against a police officer.
Sponsor Michael Nozzolio, R-Fayette, said the bill is in response to input received during a series of public hearings held by the Senate Majority last year, which examined police safety and public protection in New York City and throughout the state. Nozzolio is the former chair of the Senate Crime and Correction Committee.
Attitudes toward police in some communities remain acrimonious after high-profile shootings of unarmed civilians such as Eric Garner in Staten Island and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, spawning the Black Lives Matter movement.
Waves of protests have turned violent in some parts of the country after grand juries failed to indict the officers responsible for these deaths. In 2014, two NYPD officers were ambushed and shot in their patrol car by a man seeking retribution for Garner’s and Brown’s deaths.
The proposed law would create a new class D felony for purposefully inciting violence against a police officer.
“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,” said Nozzolio, who now chairs the Codes Committee. “We have seen a surge in violent crimes against on-duty police officers so ensuring their safety has never been more important.”
The bill was sent to the Assembly.