NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New video surfaced Tuesday evening of more NYPD officers being doused with water.
The most recent incident in Queens has compelled lawmakers to announce a new bill that cracks down on anyone who disrespects the badge, CBS2’s Natalie Duddridge reported.
Police are on the hunt for a person caught on camera throwing water at traffic cops, who are seen just doing their jobs on a corner in Woodhaven.
There have been at least four separate cases in recent weeks of citizens showing contempt for officers, prompting some fed-up lawmakers to say enough is enough. They want anyone who does it to go to jail.
Police are looking for the man who was captured on video blatantly tossing bottled water at two NYPD traffic enforcement agents in Queens, as he records it on his cellphone. The incident happened last weekend at 86th Street and Jamaica Avenue.
“That is very disrespectful,” one New Yorker told Duddridge.
“He’s just walking away thinking it’s all right to do that and it’s not right to do that to anybody, not just the cops,” Woodhaven resident Jose Cancela added.
It was the latest incident targeting members of the Police Department. Earlier this month in Harlem, officers were drenched while trying to make an arrest. A bucket was even thrown at their heads. And in Brooklyn, water was dumped on officers as they calmly walked away.
But authorities implored police not to stand for it, and now two New York lawmakers want to make disrespecting officers a more serious crime.
“We will not wait until these attacks spread like wildfire,” said Assemblyman Mike LiPetri, R-Long Island. “This time, it’s water. What’s next? Gasoline? Acid?”
Web Extra: Lawmakers, Unions Condemn Latest Water Incident:
At a rally on the steps of City Hall on Wednesday morning, LiPetri and Assemblyman Michael Reilly, R-Staten Island, proposed a new law to stop what some call a disgusting trend.
“What we are witnessing in New York City is disgraceful. A culture of blatant disrespect for law enforcement has been fostered and encouraged simply for political gain which has resulted in such despicable acts of hate becoming acceptable in our communities,” LiPetri said. “New York State must send a message that this will not be tolerated and I am confident that this bill provides law enforcement the tools they need to properly react.”
According to LiPetri and Reilly, the new bill would make it a Class E felony to throw or spray water, or any other substance, against an on-duty police or peace officer. The charge would be punishable by up to 1 to 4 years in prison.
“Our police officers are being targeted for harassment and even assault while doing their job,” Reilly said. “This is the direct result of political grandstanding from politicians like Mayor de Blasio who’ve done absolutely nothing to foster police-community relations, and instead spread an inflammatory anti-cop rhetoric just to score a few points. As someone who served in uniform, I understand the immense burden our police officers carry with them each day. I take offense to the narrative created by those politicians and the truth is, Mayor de Blasio was elected to lead a city, not a movement. It is time for real leadership at City Hall.”
Leaders of the city’s police unions also called out the mayor for being too lenient.
“When did we lose our common sense? When did it become okay to laugh and jeer and throw things at police officers who are working and trying to protect our communities?” said Michael O’Meara, president of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Police Benevolent Association. “Maybe Mayor de Blasio should sit down and address the people of New York City and say let’s get some common sense back. Come on, it’s disgusting.”
Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch said if the mayor isn’t careful the city could take a dive back to decades-old high crime.
“It’s not that long ago, and it can slip easily,” Lynch said. “What’s the signs to see it slipping? People dumping buckets of water on the head of uniformed New York City police officers.”
Police did arrest at least four people in connection with the Harlem and Brooklyn incidents, but authorities are still looking for more than a dozen suspects.