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Dem Wants Tougher Punishments For Crimes Against Cops

Democrat-sponsored legislation in the state Assembly would institute tougher punishments on those who commit crimes against police and peace officers.

Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon, D-Utica, has introduced a pair of bills to protect police officers. A.10971 would amend the Penal Law to increase the severity of several crimes against police officers by one degree. Second-degree assault, causing a peace or police officer physical injury, would become a class C felony. Assault on a peace officer, police officer, firefighter or EMS professional, causing serious physical injury, would become a class B felony. Aggravated assault on a police or peace officer, causing serious physical injury by means of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument would become a class A felony.

Buttenschon’s legislation has no co-sponsors.

“Law enforcement officers put their lives on the line every day while serving communities across New York state,” Buttenschon wrote in her legislative justification. “The law enforcement officers and others who protect our community put their lives at risk each and every single day. Assaulting a member of law enforcement or a first responder is a heinous crime. We must send the message that this is a serious offense.”

The Utica Democrat has also introduced A.10970, which creates the crime of stalking a police officer or peace officer. The crime would be a class E felony punishable by as much as four years in jail. The law would define stalking a police or peace officer as a person intentionally engaging in conduct directed at a specific officer or person who is in the officer’s immediate family while knowing the conduct would cause fear of harm to the officer or the officer’s family. It would include phone calls or other communication or conduct when the person has been told to stop or coming within 100 yards of an officer’s home without the officer’s consent for the purpose of harming or intimidating the officer or the officer’s family. It would also include using GPS devices to track the movements police officer or their family.

“Our police officers go above and beyond every single day, putting their lives on the line for our safety,” Buttenschon wrote. “They should not have to bring their work home in the form of being stalked. This bill would provide additional protections to police and peace officers who find themselves being stalked or harassed by someone. Attacks on police officers in any form are not acceptable.”

Meanwhile, Assemblyman Michael Cusick, D-Staten Island, has introduced A.10965 to establish the crimes of first, second, third and fourth-degree destruction of police property in response to riots and protests that have resulted in destruction of public property. Companion legislation has yet to be introduced in the state Senate and there are no co-sponsors of the legislation.

Cusick wrote in his legislative justification that intentional and reckless destruction of property with no reasonable right or ground to do so is against the law and affords explicit protections to individuals and their property.

“When exercising the right to free speech turns violent, particularly with the destruction of police property, it becomes a major safety concern and endangers the community at large,” he wrote. “It is essential that we define destruction of police property in our criminal mischief law and enforce greater penalties on individuals who willfully destroy police property. Clearly those who engage in such acts have no regard for how this impacts the safety of our police officers and the safety of the citizens. It is imperative that the state explicitly protect police property against targeted vandalism and that specific protections be implemented to deter such acts.”

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