"Talk back to a cop and go to jail! -- at least in Lafayette, Colorado where it is now a crime to verbally disrespect authority. An article in the local Daily Camera provides background as of Sunday the 13th. According to a local commentator on the news item, the ordinance pass in council on Tuesday the 15th.
The ordinance states, "It is unlawful for any person to make forceful contact, strike, or do bodily harm to, attempt to make forceful contact, strike, or do bodily harm to, threaten to make forceful contact, strike, or do bodily harm to, either verbally or by action or gesture, to any peace officer in the performance of such officers official duties, or attempt to perform such duties. Profane, abusive, insulting, taunting, or provoking language directed to a peace officer which may reasonably promote a violent response or reaction shall be deemed a violation of this section, whether accompanying the aforesaid actions or not." [Emphasis added]
In short, around a cop, you have no freedom of speech. Nor do you have any real idea what he might consider "provoking language." Apparently the police in Lafayette are so badly trained that cuss words can "provoke" them into uncontrollable violence. Since this is the same police force that recently tased to death a 19-year-old kid accused of growing marijuana, this assessment may be true. Which is all the more reason to give them less and not more power over your life...let alone the power to regulate which words may come out of your mouth. On the other extreme, perhaps the cops of Lafayette are so delicate that rude words shatter their fragile psyches. Perhaps the ordinance was inspired by a court incident where a 200 lb cop broke down on stand and wailed, "Your honor the defendant was mean to me!"
Cops already abuse their authority with near impunity; they can literally get away with murder. Now a Lafayette cop can arrest you for uttering words that -- in the sole opinion of that judge-and-jury officer -- are obstructive or provoking. Do you really want to live in a country that gives that authority to men with guns?
On the bright side...and, yeah, the situation is so oppressive that I consider this to be a glimmer of hope...maybe Lafayette just wants your money. Maybe they see monitoring your cuss word as a cash cow and they are actually indifferent to imposing social control beyond what is necessary to make you stand still as they pick your pocket. I suspect the ordinance is inspired by a combination of both motives. Moreover, even if it is fiscally-motivated, it is sure to be misused by "sensitve (sic)" cops who will gladly crack your ribs for being disrespectful."
It doesn't amaze me that such laws are on the books. Not at all. Were I to be a member of the legislature and had to listen to that incessant weeping and never ending whining and outright bawling at the drop of a hat, I'd probably weaken, give in, and help to pass any laws these weak sisters wanted, just to get some peace. But thats just me. I'm a sucker for a little kid with a pouty face, and hey, someone's gotta follow around the speeders and the scofflaws, and lock down a school when someone sees a janitor with a piece of pipe. Without them, insurance companies would be bugging us to fill out more accident report paperwork, and we'd have to quiet noisy drunken neighbors on a regular basis and that can't be much fun.
Not that their jobs are more dangerous than a cab driver or a construction worker, and forget ever comparing them to our marvelously gallant military, but something must be up if they're forever begging for more rights than anyone else gets.
We just haven't figured it out yet. So, as a favor, if YOU catch on before me, drop a line so's I can "get-it" too.
Thanks to The War on Guns for the link.