Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY) sent a letter to United States Attorney General William Barr on Wednesday following online videos of police officers being doused with water – and in one case, hit in the head with a bucket while trying to make an arrest. The letter requests the Department of Justice investigate federal hate crime charges and pursue criminal charges for assaulting a police officer for those involved in the attack.
“These actions are a result of Democrat politicians spouting anti-police rhetoric to gain cheap political points,” Tom said in the letter to the Attorney General. “While we cannot control the extreme rhetoric of these politicians and the total disrespect local District Attorneys have shown toward police by refusing to prosecute certain crimes, the United States Justice Department does have the ability to investigate criminal hate crime charges against those involved and pursue criminal charges for assaulting a police officer.”
Tom also indicated support for legislation introduced in Albany by Assemblyman Michael Reilly and Assemblyman Mike LiPetri, who have introduced a new bill that would make it a Class E felony to throw or spray water or any other substance at an on-duty police or peace officer. The charge would be punishable by up to 1 to 4 years in prison.
“The recent water dousing attacks in New York City on our police were disgraceful. I introduced state legislation in New York to deter this disrespectful conduct and protect law enforcement from enduring these types of attacks before they escalate to more harmful and life-threatening substances,” Assemblyman Michael LiPetri said. “I hope the federal government takes heed in protecting our law enforcement on all levels of government in a time when there are many politicians today who are more inclined to demonize and malign our protectors, rather than support them.”
“Our incredible law enforcement personnel risk their well-being every day so New Yorkers can go about their business safely,” New York State Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb said. “It is unconscionable there are individuals who think it’s acceptable to disrupt police work and endanger officers who are simply doing their job to protect and serve their communities. Our law enforcement officers deserve tremendous gratitude and I fully support legislation aimed at curbing these disgusting incidences of disrespect.”
Unfortunately, the bill is facing stiff opposition by Democratic State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams.
“We cannot tolerate acts of aggression and complete disrespect for police officers on the streets of New York City or in any other community throughout New York State,” State Senator Tom O’Mara (R,C,I-Big Flats) said. “Our law enforcement officers are the first line of defense for our neighborhoods. They put themselves on the line to protect our safety day in and day out, and they earn and deserve our complete respect. We should take every step necessary to make that clear to anyone who thinks otherwise.”
“We need to stand up for the men and women in law enforcement who stand strong for all of us every single day,” Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (R,C,I-Corning) said. “These disgusting acts of total disrespect for police officers simply cannot be tolerated anywhere. If left unchecked, this lawlessness will endanger the safety and security of every community and neighborhood. I’m proud to support and encourage the enactment of this strong legislation that respects the service and sacrifice of our officers.”
Local police departments located in the Southern Tier are also in support of the proposed legislation, citing the need for both political parties to support it.
“I believe that it is imperative that both parties take a strong stance against these actions of throwing water or any items on/at law enforcement,” said Chemung County Sheriff, Bill Schrom. “To shrug it off as ‘no big deal’ is not only irresponsible but dangerous. If individuals believe that there are no consequences to their actions then what is to prevent them from spraying other liquid substances on law enforcement officials trying to do their jobs? I sincerely hope that all lawmakers would support such a law to show their support for the brave men and women who serve and protect all of us every day!”
“Our law enforcement officers get up in the morning, ready to face whatever happens that day in the name of protecting our citizens – they deserve better – and should not have to face these egregious attacks,” Tom concluded.