(The AEGIS Alliance) – A bill moving through Kentucky’s Senate would make it a criminal offense to disrespect, insult, or taunt a law enforcement officer while there is a riot. Supporters state the bill targets individuals that illegally “cross the line” yet challengers call it an outright effort to squash demonstrations and also a violation of First Amendment legal rights.
Senate Bill 211 mandates as much as 3 months’ jail time for an individual that “accosts, insults, taunts, or challenges a law enforcement officer with offensive or derisive words,” or makes “gestures or other physical contacts that would have a direct tendency to provoke a violent response from the perspective of a reasonable and prudent person.”
An individual found guilty of this misdemeanor offense could additionally deal with a $250 fine as well as be disqualified from public aid benefits for 3 months.
The bill also has a provision pressing back on the “defund the police” movement, specifying that federal government entities that fund police and other law enforcement need to “maintain and improve their respective financial support.”
The bill progressed through the Senate’s Veterans, Military Affairs, and also the Public Protection Committee on Thursday in a 7-3 vote, with only Republicans supporting the legislation. It currently moves to the full Senate and might be passed there as early as next week, as well as then require to be passed in the House. Republicans are in control of both chambers of Kentucky’s legislature.
Following State Senator David Carroll, a Republican and a retired law enforcement officer that is the bill’s lead sponsor’s story being published, he composed in an e-mail, “After looking at [you’re] headline, I don’t think I have anything to say to you. I miss the time when we actually had unbiased journalists!!”
Carroll talked to the Louisville Courier-Journal and said the bill is a reaction to riots that burst out in numerous cities throughout the nation last summertime. Louisville was an epicenter for racial justice demonstrations as a result of the fatal police shooting of Breonna Taylor
“This country was built on lawful protest, and it’s something that we must maintain — our citizens’ right to do so,” Carroll informed the Courier-Journal “What this deals with are those who cross the line and commit criminal acts.”
The ACLU of Kentucky said the legislation is “an extreme bill to stifle dissent” and also stated it would make free speech a criminal offense.
#SB211 is an extreme bill to stifle dissent. It’s so extreme it would make it a crime to say “insulting” or “offensive” things to law enforcement. ACLU-KY Legal Dir. Corey Shapiro told @courierjournal that lawmakers trying to criminalize speech is, itself, “offensive.” #KYGA21 https://t.co/kwFCRAKovZ
— ACLU of Kentucky (@ACLUofKY) March 5, 2021
Kyle James Lee – The AEGIS Alliance – This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.