Kentucky Bill Proposes Criminalizing Taunting or Insulting Police

A new bill that would criminalize insulting or taunting a police officer during a riot is moving through Kentucky’s Senate. 

The proposed bill, Senate Bill 211, states that a person who “accosts, insults, taunts, or challenges a law enforcement officer with offensive or derisive words, or by gestures or other physical contact, that would have a direct tendency to provoke a violent response from the perspective of reasonable and prudent person” would be guilty of disorderly conduct in the second degree, a class B misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail and fines up to $250. 

A person convicted of this charge could also be disqualified from public assistance benefits for 90 days.

On Thursday, the bill passed through the Senate’s Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Protection in a 7-3 vote. The bill will now be presented to the full Senate as early as next week.

Danny Carrol, a Republican state senator and the bill’s top sponsor, said, “This is not about lawful protest in any way, shape, form or fashion. This country was built on lawful protest and it’s something we must maintain — our citizen’s right to do so.” 

The ACLU of Kentucky tweeted in opposition of the bill calling it “an extreme bill to stifle dissent.” 

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