Kentucky lawmakers advance bill that criminalizes insulting, taunting police

The bill would make it illegal for citizens to criticize, insult or make statements that would antagonize an officer to become violent

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A bill that could interfere with the rights of the first amendment is under consideration in Louisville, Kentucky.

The bill would make it illegal for citizens to criticize, insult or make statements that would antagonize an officer to become violent, per Wave 3 News.  The bill was recently passed by a Senate Committee but some argue the bill is a violation of the right to free speech.

Read More: Less than 20 percent of Americans support ‘defund the police,’ poll finds

police cop
(Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

“It’s a cornerstone of our democracy that people should be able to verbally challenge police actions, even if its offensive, even if it’s using words that people don’t like,” said legal director of the ALCU Kentucky, Corey Shapiro. “That’s a cornerstone of the First Amendment, and that’s why we’re here.”

Senate Bill 211 would also discourage defunding the police and possibly charge individuals who give instruments to protestors that can be used as weapons.

“I think by us having that kind of language in here, it makes my stomach turn, because I don’t believe any of my good officers are going to provoke a violent response because someone does a ‘your mama’ joke or whatnot,” said Sen. David Yates, D-Louisville, who believes the bill sends the wrong message to the public and says it isn’t a feat for  “good cops,” to keep their composure.

Read More: Brittany Packnett Cunningham on Chauvin: ‘One officer on trial doesn’t end police violence’

The bill passed 7-4 on March 4 and could be on its way to the House, but on March 30 the legislation session ends.

Protests Against Police Brutality Over Death Of George Floyd Continue In NYC
Police confront protesters in Union Square on May 30, 2020 in New York City. Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin was filmed kneeling on George Floyd’s neck. Floyd was later pronounced dead at a local hospital. Across the country, protests against Floyd’s death have set off days and nights of rage as its the most recent in a series of deaths of African Americans by the police. (Photo by David Dee Delgado/Getty Images)

“This (bill) is not about lawful protest in any way, shape, form, or fashion,” said Sen. Danny Carroll, R-Benton, the retired police officer who sponsored the bill. “This country was built on lawful protest and it’s something we must maintain our citizens’ right to do so. What this deals with are those who cross the line and commit criminal acts,” he adds. “If you see the riots, you see people getting in these officers faces, yelling in their ears, doing anything they can to provoke a violent response.”

He claims the purpose of the bill is to protect law enforcement.

“I think there is absolutely a need for this,” said Carroll. “The need crosses political lines, it crosses racial lines; it’s not aimed at any particular segment of this commonwealth, of any community.”

As reported by theGrio, despite the call for police reform a new study says only a fraction of society favors defunding the police.

Many Americans are not in favor of defunding the police.

A new study published on Sunday by Ipsos and USA Today disclosed that most Americans are not in favor of defunding the police. While many activists call for police reform, the strategy that suggests redistributing funds allocated for police departments has been met with major criticism.

The poll questioned 1,165 Americans between March 1st and 2nd and discovered 67% of white Americans are against the strategy, along with 84 % of Republicans.

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