Niagara County Sheriff Michael Filicetti, joined by other law enforcement leaders in western New York, gave a press conference this morning outlining the need for compliance during lawful orders and the overall safety of area police officers.
Before reading off a list of suggested changes to be enacted at the legislative level, Filicetti gave some introductory remarks on the situation as a whole,
“On May 25th, a tragic incident occurred in Minneapolis. I think we can all agree on that. We certainly don’t condone those actions. Unfortunately, some politicians – not in Niagara County – and some community activists in other parts of the state and country have now fostered an attitude towards the police which excuses resistance to lawful authority.
“It should be readily apparent to all, that most of the recent tragic incidents resulting in the injury or death of an individual at the hands of police, began with a refusal from that individual to comply with a lawful order.”
Furthermore, Filicetti noted, “There is a time and place to question an officer’s actions, but not at the scene when an officer is under the pressure of trying to gain control of a situation.” He added, “Some individuals feel they have been given license to harass and assault police officers.”
SUGGESTED LEGISLATIVE CHANGES AS PRESENTED FROM AREA LAW ENFORCEMENT:
- Resisting Arrest. Make Resisting Arrest a Class E felony.
- Failure to Retreat. Make it a Class D Felony for any person to approach within 25 feet of a police officer engaged in the performance of his or her duties, when such person is ordered by a police officer to halt or retreat, and such person fails to immediately do so.
- Assault on a Police Officer. Increase the level of seriousness by one degree for the current crimes pertaining to assault upon a police officer, and make all of them crimes for which a judge could require the posting of bail.
Penal Law 120.05(3) – Assault in the Second Degree, causing a peace or police officer physical injury, should become a class D felony.
Penal Law 120.08 – Assault on a Peace Officer, Police Officer, Firefighter or Emergency Services Professional, causing serious physical injury, should be a class B felony.
Penal Law 120.11 – Aggravated Assault on a Peace Officer or Police Officer, causing serious physical injury, by means of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument. This should become a class A felony.
- Aggravated Harassment of a Police or Peace Officer. Make it a Class D Felony, for a person to cause, or attempt to cause, any police officer or peace officer engaged in the performance of his or her duties to be struck by any substance or object including, but not limited to, bottles, rocks, bodily fluids, spittle, urine, seminal fluid, feces, flammable liquids or other noxious, hazardous or dangerous substances or objects.
- Hate Crime Against a Police Officer. Make any crime committed against a police officer because of his or her status as a police officer a hate crime, with the concomitant increase in penalty as is currently provided with respect to hate crimes against members of other protected groups.
- Aggravated Offering a False Accusation Against a Police Officer. Make it a Class D Felony to falsely accuse a police officer or peace officer of wrongdoing in the performance of his or her duties and create a private right of civil action for the officer against the false accuser.
- Criminal Doxing of a Police Officer or Peace Officer. Make it a Class D Felony to dox a police or peace officer because of the officer’s status as a police or peace officer, or to dox any other person because of that person’s relationship to, or affiliation with, a police or peace officer.
- Stalking a Police or Peace Officer. Make it a Class E Felony to follow or surveille a police or peace officer for no legitimate purpose, whether such officer is on or off duty, or to approach within 100 yards of the private residence or place of lodging of a police officer, without the consent of said officer, for reasons related to the officer’s status or service as a police or peace officer, or for the purpose of intimidating the officer or the officer’s family.
- Disability and Death Benefit. Provide a $500,000 benefit for the police officers who are seriously disabled or die from injuries incurred in the line of duty, in recognition of the high-risk occupation of a police officer, to provide some measure of security for the future of the officer and his or her family should the officer be disabled or killed in protecting the public.
- Police Memorial Day. Make May 15 a state holiday in honor of the more than 1,500 police officers who have died in the line of duty in New York, and require the State Division of Criminal Justice Services to annually organize a fitting ceremony at the Police Memorial Wall at the Empire State Plaza in Albany on the Monday falling closest to May 1, and require the Governor to appear in person at such ceremony to say aloud, in tribute, the names of the police officers who died during the pervious year from injuries incurred in the line of duty.