What to Know
- Lawmakers joined NYC, Long Island police union leaders Wednesday to announce bill that would make throwing water on cops a felony
- The proposed piece of legislation will make it a felony to throw or spray water or any other substance on an on-duty police or peace officer
- Announcement of bill comes after several people were arrested in separate incidents where they doused NYPD officers with buckets of water
Elected officials joined New York City and Long Island police union leaders on Wednesday to announce proposed legislation that would make throwing water on cops a felony. It comes in the wake of outrage over viral video that showed a Harlem crowd throwing buckets of water on officers making an arrest.
New York Assemblyman Mike LiPetri, a Republican, was among the lawmakers and police unions at a Wednesday press conference announcing the introduction of the bill.
"It’s a sad day in the history of New York state when we have to legislate civility. It’s even a sadder day in the history of the greatest city in the world when a culture of disrespect against our police has been fostered,” LiPetri said, adding it is time for Mayor Bill de Blasio to show his support for police.
LiPetri went on to say that de Blasio has used his office and, now, a national platform to "burn rather than build bridges" between the community and law enforcement and subsequently challenged the mayor to condemn the attacks at Wednesday night's Democratic presidential candidate debate.
"We now have individuals literally drenching on duty police officers with buckets of water during routine patrol. Patrol aimed solely at protecting the quality of life in the neighborhoods they serve. This time its water. But whats next? Gasoline? Acid?" LiPetri said.
The proposed piece of legislation will make it a felony to throw or spray water or any other substance on an on-duty police or peace officer.
"We must send a strong message that such acts will not be tolerated," LiPetri said.
When referencing those who may think the punishment is to harsh for dousing a police officer with water, LiPetri replied that "the only thing that is harsh is the pattern of disrespect towards police."
New York Assemblyman Mike Riley, who was a former NYPD officer, was among those present at the press conference and called the recentincidents where individuals threw water on cops "uncalled for."
New York City PBA President Patrick Lynch was also present to ask City Hall to support police.
"We expect this legislation to move, to move quickly and to pass," he said.
The announcement of the proposed piece of legislation comes after several people were arrested in separate caught-on-camera incidents where they doused buckets of water on NYPD officers in the Bronx and Manhattan earlier this month.
A 24-year-old man, Robert Perez, was charged with harassment, criminal mischief, disorderly conduct and criminal trespass in connection to the drenching of two police officers in the Bronx. His attorney didn't immediately respond to request for comments.
His arrest came two days after police made a round of arrests in connection with other dousings, which involved police getting soaked after responding to reports of unruly neighborhood water fights during a recent spate of hot weather in Harlem.
Courtney Thompson, Isiah Scott and Chad Bowden, all 28, face varying charges including disorderly conduct, harassment, criminal mischief and obstructing government administration, among other offenses. It wasn't immediately clear if any of the three had retained attorneys.
Two of the suspects were arrested for allegedly throwing water at a woman and ruining her phone, police said. They were seen in the video of the Harlem incident, but did not take part in chucking water on the officers or throwing the bucket, according to police. The other man arrested was directly involved in dousing an officer.
Video of the NYPD cops getting doused with buckets of water in Harlem even caught President Donald Trump's attention.
"What took place in NYC with water being tossed on NYPD officers was a total disgrace," Trump previously tweeted. "What took place was completely unacceptable, and will not be tolerated."
He called on de Blasio to "act immediately," though he didn't say what action he believed the mayor should take.
For his part, following the dousing of the police officers, de Blasio retweeted a post by NYPD Chief Terence Monahan condeming the actions, saying "The NYPD kept New Yorkers safe through the heat wave and Sunday night's outages. We won't tolerate this kind of disrespect."
Responding to NBC 4 New York's request for comment on the accusations made Wednesday by LiPetri against de Blasio as well as the proposed piece of legislation, a spokesperson for the mayor said: “The mayor has spent the last five years working to improve relations between police and the communities they serve. He will never tolerate disrespect against our officers and will always be the loudest voice in their defense.”