Filicetti proposes bills to help protect police

Acting Niagara County sheriff wants tougher penalties for resisting arrest and assaulting officers

Tom Puckett
July 15, 2020 - 2:09 pm
Acting Niagara County Sheriff Michael Filicetti

Lockport, NY (WBEN) Acting Niagara County Sheriff Michael Filicetti is joining other police leaders in calling on state lawmakers to toughen laws like resisting arrest and harassing officers to allow law enforcement to do its job.

Filicetti wants penalties increased for resisting arrest, making it a felony. "It should be readily apparent to all, the most tragic incidents at the hands of police began with the individaul not complying with a lawful order," says Filicetti, who notes he does not condone what happened to George Floyd in Minneapolis. "If you actually know you'll go to jail for resisting arrest instead of receive an appearance ticket, we believe this would act as a deterrent. If people don't resist, the use of force would be reduced, making it safer for police and the public at the same time."

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Filicetti also issued these proposals:

Failure to Retreat — Make this a Class D felony — This means a person must stay at least 25 feet away from a police officer engaged in their duties when ordered to halt or retreat.

Assault on a Police Officer — Increase the level of seriousness of each crime related to the assault of a police officer by one degree, and make them all crimes for which a judge could require the posting of bail.

Aggravated Harassment of a Police or Peace Officer — Make it a Class D felony to strike or attempt to strike any police or peace officer engaged in their duties with a substance or object. These include, but aren’t limited to bottles, rocks and bodily fluids.

Hate Crime Against a Police Officer — Make any crime committed against a police officer because of their status as a police officer a hate crime.

Aggravated Offering a False Accusation Against a Police Officer — Make it a Class D felony to falsely accuse a police officer or peace officer of wrongdoing in the performance of their duties. The proposal also calls for civil action for the officer against the accuser.

Criminal Doxing of a Police Officer or Peace Officer — Make it a Class D felony to dox a police or peace officer because of their status as an officer, or any other person because of their relationship to, or affiliation with, an officer.

Stalking a Police or Peace Officer — Make it a Class E felony to follow or survey a police or peace officer with no legitimate purpose, or get within 100 yards of an officer’s residence or place of lodging without the officer’s consent, for reasons related to the officer’s status or service, or for the purpose of intimidating the officer or their family.

Disability and Death Benefit — Provide a $500,000 benefit for police officers who are seriously disabled or die from injuries incurred in the line of duty, in order to provide a measure of security for the future of the officer and/or their family.

Police Memorial Day — Make May 15 a state holiday in honor of the more than 1,500 New York police officers who have died in the line of duty. This proposal also calls for an annual ceremony at the Police Memorial Wall in Albany on the Monday falling closest to May 1, where the Governor would be required to appear and read the names of officers who died from injuries incurred in the line of duty in the previous year.

Filicetti says there's a time and a place to question an officer's actions, but not when he is trying to control a scene. He adds he's not against policing his own or police reform, but he is against what's happening to police across the country as people believe such incidents as the Floyd case give them permission to not obey commands.

These proposals are going to state lawmakers, according to Filicetti.

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