On Wednesday, speaking at a rally on the steps of New York City Hall, two New York legislators said they want to implement laws that will punish people who douse police officers with liquid. Assemblyman Mike LiPetri of Long Island and Assemblyman Michael Reilly of Staten Island are proposing a bill that would make it a class E felony to throw or spray water or other liquids against an on-duty police or peace officer. The perpetrators would serve between one and four years in prison.
Both men, unsurprisingly, are Republicans.
As CBS New York reported, LiPetri stated, “What we are witnessing in New York City is disgraceful. A culture of blatant disrespect for law enforcement has been fostered and encouraged simply for political gain which has resulted in such despicable acts of hate becoming acceptable in our communities. New York State must send a message that this will not be tolerated and I am confident that this bill provides law enforcement the tools they need to properly react.”
Reilly echoed, “Our police officers are being targeted for harassment and even assault while doing their job. This is the direct result of political grandstanding from politicians like Mayor de Blasio who’ve done absolutely nothing to foster police-community relations, and instead spread an inflammatory anti-cop rhetoric just to score a few points. As someone who served in uniform, I understand the immense burden our police officers carry with them each day. I take offense to the narrative created by those politicians and the truth is, Mayor de Blasio was elected to lead a city, not a movement. It is time for real leadership at City Hall.”
Michael O’Meara, president of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Police Benevolent Association, added, “When did we lose our common sense? When did it become okay to laugh and jeer and throw things at police officers who are working and trying to protect our communities? Maybe Mayor de Blasio should sit down and address the people of New York City and say, let’s get some common sense back. Come on, it’s disgusting.”
LePetri asserted, “This time, it’s water. What’s next? Gasoline? Acid? What we are witnessing in New York City is disgraceful.”
The New York Post noted that there have been five separate incidents in which police officers were either doused or sprayed with water. Incidents have occurred in Queens, Harlem, and the Bronx.
After one police-dousing incident was captured on video and went viral, NYPD Department Chief Terence A. Monahan reacted:
The videos of cops being doused with water and having objects hurled at them as they made an arrest in #Harlem is reprehensible. NYC’s cops & communities have made remarkable progress — together — but EVERY New Yorker MUST show respect for our cops. They deserve nothing less. To [New York]’s Finest: the work you do every day is remarkable. We trust you to do what is a very difficult job. Use your discretion — make arrests when necessary — and know that you have our support and full confidence. Thank you for what you do day in and day out. Please stay safe.