“There is no justification for violence against first responders,” bill author and Nassau County Legislator Joshua A. Lafazan told CNN in a statement Sunday, “These bills will add further protections in law to protect Nassau County’s first responders, as they protect us.”
Nassau County Legislator Siela Bynoe told CNN she opposes the bill and will vote against it.
She said her concern is, if the bill is legalized, its overly broad range of proposed offenses against officers could have a chilling effect on peaceful protests and the exercise of free speech.
“Human rights laws are designed to protect people who have been historically discriminated against because of unchangeable personal characteristics such as the color of their skin,” Bynoe explained.
“No individual who voluntarily chooses a profession should be included in such a framework — let alone be exempt from proving they were intentionally subjected to a discriminatory act just because they were wearing a uniform at the time of the encounter,” het sy bygevoeg.
Groups such as the Long Island Advocates for Police Accountability are urging legislators to vote against the bill.
“This bill would hijack the Human Rights Law and penalize ‘discrimination
’ against a police officer more harshly than ‘discrimination
’ against groups that have historically faced persecution and discrimination in our country
,” a verklaring issued by the group Friday said
. “This misguided legislation
… is a backlash to calls for meaningful police reform
, undermines efforts to improve police-community relations
, does nothing to improve safety for police officers
, and come at the expense of our democracy
,” the statement continues
But County Legislator Lafazan said criticism that the bill targets a specific race or political ideology is “outrageous.”
“This bill, by protecting our first responders, helps guarantee every citizen’s fundamental right to freedom of speech without violence or intimidation,” hy het gesê.
Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder echoed Lafazan’s sentiments in a statement Sunday, sê, “The protections of our first responders, residents and communities must always be a priority.”