Local officials spoke out last week to condemn recent incidents where New York City police officers had water dumped on them and buckets thrown at them. Early in the week, Senator John Brooks gathered with Nassau and Suffolk County executives Laura Curran and Steve Bellone, along with other local officials in order to respond.
“So we are all clear, we are not here about a bucket of water but rather the troubling environment we find ourselves in,” said Brooks. “First responders need to focus on the nature of the call they are responding to… not divert their attention to having to think about the nonsense we saw last week.”
“I’m proud to stand with Senator Brooks and County Executive Bellone to condemn violent acts against our police officers and other first responders,” said Curran. “I will be working with Senator Brooks and other government partners on legislation that protects our brave men and women. These types of attacks are unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”
Working with the district attorney and police commissioner, Brooks and the county executives will be drafting legislation to “protect all first responders, including police, fire, corrections, sheriff and emergency medical personnel from all forms of vicious attack, including the dumping, pouring, spraying, or throwing of any liquid, gel, powder, vapor, gas or similar substance, on or at any first responder.”
“The law will contain various penalties based on the items used in the incident and the method by which these items were introduced. I would also like to see the law address copycat incidents with additional penalties,” said Brooks. “Working together we will develop legislation that addresses all aspects of these kind of incidents, establishes penalties, which are both effective and realistic.”
A few days later, Assemblyman Mike LiPetri of Massapequa held a joint press conference with Assemblyman Michael Reilly of Staten Island, along with various other legislators and members of local police benevolent associations, to also condemn the attacks and introduce legislation that would make it a Class E felony to throw water or any substance at a police or peace officer. This felony could lead to a punishment as severe as one to four years in prison.
“It’s a sad day in New York State when we have to legislate civility,” said LiPetri. “This time, it [was] water. What’s next? Gasoline? Acid? We must send a strong message that such acts will not be tolerated. We must end this cruel and infectious behavior before it escalates into a life-threatening attack. We can not wait until these attacks spread like wild fire against the law enforcement community.”
LiPetri also took aim at New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, saying that his rhetoric has “cultivated and encouraged” the behavior of those who attacked the officers and says that he has burned bridges between the community and law enforcement. De Blasio has not reacted to the assemblyman’s comments, but did tweet about the incident the day it happened, saying it was “completely unacceptable” and that the city would not tolerate “this kind of disrespect.”
Three people have been arrested in the water-dousing attacks. They face charges including disorderly conduct, harassment, criminal mischief and obstructing government administration.
“The men and women in blue are people in our neighborhoods,” said LiPetri. “They are our softball coaches, music instructors and middle-class moms and dads simply trying to provide for their families by keeping our communities safe. Let us not forget that these officers took a sacred oath to serve and protect complete strangers in the name of courtesy, professionalism and respect.”