NEW YORK — In a controversial move the New York State Senate has passed Senate Bill S.2402 which makes it a class E felony to annoy a police officer. Many have questioned whether it’s legal to criminalize a subjective standard and what exactly is the acid test is to prove something is “annoying.” Some feel the bill is unjustly targeting New Yorkers because too many people simply feel being a New Yorker is annoying in and of itself, however this puts an unreasonable burden on New Yorkers to digress from their cultural norms. As a native New Yorker who now lives in Seattle, I can give first hand accounts of the eye rolls and exaggerated exhales I receive as soon as people hear my softened down New York accent. Quite frankly it is impossible to be a New Yorker and not annoy someone, and to impose such a law in New York would like saying, ” HEY!!!! SKUNK!!! Don’t stink.”
The implications of this law would put the comedic world in jeopardy, because we know two things for certain — comedians and satirists will test the limits of the law, and the police will abuse it anyway they can to their advantage.
It’s been recently reported that Joan Rivers and Fran Drescher have gone into hiding for fear of immediate arrest. Woody Allen, Jon Stewart, and David Letterman have sought political asylum in Connecticut.
Imagine all the other people who are at risk of this law in New York as well; lawyers, Jehovah Witnesses, cab drivers, bicycle messengers who hog the lane, cheap hot dog vendors who charge extra for mustard , any waitress, Jewish and Italian grandmothers, anyone who says “Ay Yo”. The possibilities are endless and the legal recourse is minimal with the current U.S. Supreme Court. This law is going to fill up the court system beyond capacity and create a quagmire of mass dismissals. Imagine some judge telling a cop, “No Officer, you can’t arrest him for listening to The Back Street Boys,” or “No Officer, you can’t arrest your brother-in-law for taking the last dinner roll.” Well, the good news is, Snookie and her crew will be staying on their side of the river for a while.