Maybe a person has a foul mouth, or perhaps they scream in public about ethnic groups. Such acts can be considered poor form, or even offensive, but the First Amendment is pretty clear that we have the right to do so when on our own property or public property.
That might change if New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio gets his way.
While he’s not calling for the police to arrest people for exercising their First Amendment rights, he certainly wants to chill free speech by making you at least wary, if not downright afraid.
De Blasio said:
“Even if something is not a criminal case, a perpetrator being confronted by the city, whether it’s NYPD or another agency, and being told that what they’ve done was very hurtful to another person — and could, if ever repeated, lead to criminal charges — that’s another important piece of the puzzle. That’s why we need these reports.”
Asked how the so-called “confrontations” would work, de Blasio said the NYPD is already trained at doling out warnings, and continued:
“If someone has done something wrong, but not rising to a criminal level, it’s perfectly appropriate for an NYPD officer to talk to them to say, ‘that was not appropriate, and if you did that on a higher level, that would be a crime.’”
Got that? If you do something that is perfectly legal, it’s okay for a police officer to confront you. De Blasio said his goal was to educate people, or to have a sobering impact.
De Blasio went on:
“I assure you, if an NYPD officer calls you or shows up at your door to ask you about something you did, it makes you think twice. We need that.”
And of course, his goal is to keep track of every such interaction, as he said:
“And part of it is to report everything, track everything, and anything that might be criminal, prosecute. And anything that’s not criminal, still follow up on aggressively, so people feel the presence of law enforcement in the city watching them to make sure this does not happen again.”
So the mayor of New York City wants the police to follow up on perfectly legal, albeit possibly offensive, behavior to make sure that the perfectly legal behavior doesn’t happen again.
Is this Russia?
And it’s not like the NYPD has anything else to do, combating actual crime and fighting the rising murder rate.