Taunting Police - Free Speech or Criminal Behavior - Carlos GaminoBy Carlos Gamino

Some people in Pennsylvania – particularly State Representative Dom Costa – want taunting police to be a crime.

A crime.

There’s no question that police go through a lot while they’re in uniform. In fact, I once knew a police officer who told me, “I have never been lied so this much in my life. It feels like every time I pull someone over, they flip on some kind of switch. ‘I don’t know why you pulled me over,’ or ‘I wasn’t speeding,’ or ‘I didn’t do anything wrong.’”

While I’m not a police officer, I can only imagine what they have to endure on a daily basis (even the psychological effects of being lied to constantly, such as what my friend experienced, can really wear on you over time).

But making it illegal to “taunt” police?

Rep. Costa was Pittsburgh’s Chief of Police before he was elected to the Pennsylvania House, which might have a little to do with the bill he wants to introduce.

“This nonsense that is going on today where police officers are being taunted by people and being provoked, let’s face it: We’re all human beings, and eventually that emotion will break… and that’s what they’re trying to do,” said Costa.

Costa also pointed out that it’s currently illegal in Pennsylvania to taunt any police animals, including search-and-rescue dogs, horses and drug-sniffing dogs; it’s actually a third-degree felony. The punishment in Pennsylvania for committing a third-degree felony? Up to 7 years in prison.

Taunts would include insults, sarcastic challenges or jeers – at least, that’s what the dictionary says.

It’s not an official bill yet. Costa is kicking around the idea of partnering with fellow representative John Rafferty, who recently entered a resolution to recognize 2015 as the “Year of the Cop.”

What Do You Think?

I’d love to hear what you think about this. Should it be illegal to taunt police, or is this a clear violation of our First Amendment rights?

Let me know on Facebook – it’ll make a great discussion.

Carlos Gamino