While it's never a smart idea to say that to your friends on the police force, especially if you've been stopped for driving 9 over (but perhaps it was 20), if the city council of Lafayette Colorado has its way, it will soon land you in jail.
Seriously. Maybe this is why we need an ACLU.
Chief Paul Schultz recently asked the City Council to strengthen Lafayette’s ordinance on obstructing a police officer, a move that has drawn concern from some council members and the Boulder County chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.
“Officers have been subjected to very abusive language,” Schultz said. “This gives them a tool. Otherwise, they would just have to stand there and take that verbal abuse.”
Horrors! I've been subjected to very abusive language in my life, yet I had to stand there and take it. Or perhaps move on and not take it. Or perhaps rebut it. Or perhaps get over it. But Lafayette Colorado officers, whose legs and tongues apparently don't work, must stand there, like mute statues.
Chief Schultz said officers wouldn’t arrest someone simply for swearing at them — a common occurrence on the job. Instead, he said, an arrest would follow verbal warnings and be reserved for “extreme” cases.
“It’s not just uttering those words, it’s saying those words at a level that could provoke a violent response,” he said. “It’s repeated, prolonged.”
He also assured the council that force would never be an appropriate response to verbal taunts.
And yet the law criminalizes speech which is spoken "in a manner which may reasonably promote a violent response." If force is never appropriate to verbal taunts, with no other form of obstruction, what sort of speech might reasonably provoke a violent response?
Is Lafayette Colorado a town full of holocaust deniers, with a police force full of holocaust survivors? Is the population overwhelmingly African American, and does the police uniform consist of sheets and a white hood?
Curious. Let's be honest. The law is designed to permit the arrest of a suspect's family. I doubt, whatever Chief Schultz says, that Lafayette cops are any more subject to verbal abuse than cops anywhere, most of whom don't arrest (at least openly) for harsh language.
But since I can't speak ill of Chief Schultz, at least not if I ever want to drive through Lafayette, I'll let an image do the talking for me:
Via Wendy McElroy