Critics are flipping off a Kentucky bill that would make it a crime to insult or taunt a police officer.
The language in the bill “makes my stomach turn,” said Sen. David Yates, a Louisville Democrat. The ACLU of Kentucky called the proposal a “dangerous” government overreach limiting protected free speech and protest, the Louisville Courier Journal reported.
The bill, sponsored by state Senator David Carroll, a retired cop, would make it a Class B misdemeanor punishable with a $250 fine and up to 90 days in prison if someone “accosts, insults, taunts, or challenges a law enforcement officer with offensive or derisive words, or by gestures or other physical contact, that would have a direct tendency to provoke a violent response from the perspective of a reasonable and prudent person.”
The bill also pushes back on the “defund the police” movement, CBS News reported, stating that government entities that fund law enforcement agencies must “maintain and improve their respective financial support.”
The bill advanced through committee Thursday in a party-line 7-3 vote with only Republicans supporting it. It could be voted on by the full Senate next week, and would then move to the Republican-controlled state House. Kentucky’s governor is a Democrat.
It comes after widespread protest across the country last year, with Louisville, home of Breonna Taylor, who was killed when police were executing a “no-knock” warrant, one of the centers of the unrest.
The ACLU of Kentucky called the legislation “an extreme bill to stifle dissent” and said it would criminalize free speech.