An Arizona bill introduced yesterday provides,
A. A person commits harassment [a misdemeanor] if, with intent to harass or with knowledge that the person is harassing another person, the person: …
7. TAUNTS OR MALICIOUSLY THROWS AN OBJECT AT OR IN THE DIRECTION OF A VULNERABLE USER OF A PUBLIC WAY AS DEFINED IN SECTION 28‑913….
D. This section does not apply to an otherwise lawful demonstration, assembly or picketing.
E. For the purposes of this section, “harassment” means conduct that is directed at a specific person and that would cause a reasonable person to be seriously alarmed, annoyed or harassed and the conduct in fact seriously alarms, annoys or harasses the person….
C. FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION: …
2. “VULNERABLE USER OF A PUBLIC WAY” MEANS A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER, AN EMERGENCY RESPONDER OR A WORKER IN A STATE HIGHWAY WORK ZONE AS DEFINED IN SECTION 28-652 WHILE IN THE COURSE OF OFFICIAL DUTIES OR A PEDESTRIAN, A PERSON RIDING AN ANIMAL OR A PERSON OPERATING ANY OF THE FOLLOWING ON A PUBLIC WAY, CROSSWALK OR SHOULDER OF THE HIGHWAY:
(a) A FARM TRACTOR OR IMPLEMENT OF HUSBANDRY WITHOUT AN ENCLOSED SHELL.
(b) A SKATEBOARD.
(c) ROLLER SKATES.
(d) IN-LINE SKATES.
(e) A SCOOTER.
(f) A WHEELCHAIR.
(g) A BICYCLE.
Seriously? It should be specifically made a crime to “taunt” police officers in ways that causes them (and would cause a reasonable person) to be seriously annoyed? And bicyclists and skateboarders, too? I’m all for barring maliciously throwing objects at people on the road, but what does taunting have to do with that? And while some taunting might be criminal in other ways (e.g., if it’s a threat, or if it is a challenge to a fight), I don’t see much need to add a prohibition on taunting more generally — yet oddly limited to just taunting of police officers, bicyclists, and the like.
Thanks to Alan Solot for the pointer.