Insulting a police officer in the state of Kentucky may soon be a crime, if a new bill is passed into law.
Senate Bill 211, which was drafted in response to the violent riots that took place last summer in the state, passed out of a Senate committee by a 7-3 vote. The bill was sponsored by Sen. Danny Carroll (R-Benton), who is a retired police officer, according to Fox News.
“In these riots, you see people getting up in officers’ faces, yelling in their ears, doing everything they can to provoke a violent response,” Carroll said. “I’m not saying the officers do that, but there has to be a provision within that statute to allow officers to react to that. Because that does nothing but incite those around that vicinity and it furthers and escalates the riotous behavior.”
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Louisville, which is the largest city in Kentucky, was plagued by anti-cop riots all last summer over the death of Breonna Taylor, who was fatally shot last March during a police raid inside her home.
Carroll made sure to add that the bill has nothing to do with limiting lawful protest “in any way, shape, form or fashion.”
“This country was built on lawful protest, and it’s something that we must maintain — our citizens’ right to do so. What this deals with are those who cross the line and commit criminal acts,” he explained.
The bill states that a person is guilty of disorderly conduct — a Class B misdemeanor — if they accost, insult, taunt, or challenge “a law enforcement officer with offensive or derisive words, or by gestures or other physical contact, that would have a direct tendency to provoke a violent response from the perspective of a reasonable and prudent person.”
While the bill has it’s supporters, others are against it.
“I don’t believe that any of my good officers are going to be provoked to a violent response because somebody does a ‘Yo mama’ joke or whatnot,” State Senator David Yates (D) told the Louisville Courier Journal.
Police get less respect than ever these days, so a bill like this might be in order after all.