PA Lawmaker Wants to Make it a Crime to Taunt Police Officers Because Feelings May Get Hurt

It was Law Enforcement Appreciation Day on the hill today, and legislators were exuding out of the woodwork and offices to give the fancy police state that we have built in post 9/11 America a big, wet, sloppy, drooling kiss.  The event was sponsored by the Pennsylvania Fraternal Order of Police and MC’d by State Senator John Rafferty.

In a press release earlier this week, Rafferty stated “the recent ambush-style attacks on two Pennsylvania State Police Troopers in Blooming Grove, Pennsylvania, and two New York Police Department officers in New York City, New York have violently demonstrated that law enforcement officers are being marked for attack,” and the Senator did not hold back when it came scapegoating the police hate.  At today’s rally, Rafferty blamed the uptick in violence against police on September 11th.  No really.  At the rally, he said, “it used to be when a law enforcement official answered the call for a burglary or an armed robbery he or she worried about a situation where their life maybe threatened.  After 9/11, we’ve seen a dramatic change in the attitude of this country and in the world.  Law enforcement officials are now being targeted because they wear a badge.”

Also taking part in today’s meathead intellectualism de jour, was former Pittsburgh Police Officer and current House member Dom Costa, who proposed that taunting cops should be a crime because feelings may be hurt and egos may be bruised.  At the press conference, Costa said:

This nonsense that is going today on where police officers are being taunted by people and being provoked, lets face it we’re all human beings, and eventually that emotion will break.  And that’s what they’re trying to do.  So, what I’ve talked to some of my colleagues and the senator [Senator Rafferty] is that we have a bill about taunting a police dog.  It’s illegal.  There should be out that you can’t taunt a police officer because you’re going to get those emotions up.  I myself and Representative Vereb are looking at that bill to put it forward in the House, and I am sure the Senate will follow.  Or at least support that bill.

Or.  Ya know.  Training police officers not to fly off the rails and harm unarmed people should also be part of the equation.  But getting into the ironic part of comparing police officers to dogs, here’s some information on the dog taunting law.

According to the Pennsylvania Humane Society, it is a third degree felony to “willfully or maliciously taunt, torment, tease, beat, kick or strike a police animal,” and the “taunting” part was slipped into a bill that stiffened penalties for people who kill a police dog.  So here’s a handful of stories of people who taunted a police dog.  In 2007, a 23 year old man was arrested, and given a $100,000 bail, for yelling at a police dog.  Then last fall, a 34 year old man was arrested for yelling “shut up” at a barking police dog, and last winter, a drunken college student was arrested for barking – yes barking – at a police dog at 2 in the morning.

In Pennsylvania, barking or yelling at a police dog carries consequences.  Imagine what will happen if the Mike Vereb’s or the Dom Costa’s of the Commonwealth’s police forces have some chafing between the legs going on because they didn’t get their daily Dunkin Donut fix in that morning and you happen to snatch a ticket out of an officer’s hand?  Or if you happen to be at a demonstration – which I have been to a lot of – and there’s verbal jabing happening between protesters and police officers?  This may not make it through the Pennsylvania Legislature, if it is even proposed, but after all, it is now the “Year of the Cop” in Pennsylvania and it is a Class 3 felony to taunt, bark or yell at a police dog.




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About Sean Kitchen 681 Articles
Contributor and Assistant Editor for the Raging Chicken Press. Stationed in Harrisburg covering politics in the capitol. You can send tips to or reach me on twitter at @RCPress_Sean!
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