Bipartisanship in county legislature leads to proposed repeal of police anti-annoyance law

Local News

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Monroe County Executive Adam Bello joined county legislators Vincent Felder and Karla Boyce to announce their effort to repeal the controversial police anti-annoyance law.

The law, known formally as “Prohibited Harassment of a Police Officer, Peace Officer or First Responder in Monroe County,” and known legally as “Local Law No. 9 of 2019,” was signed by former county executive Cheryl Dinolfo in December, despite widespread public protests.

MORE | Dinolfo signs controversial police harassment bill despite protest, hearing

In their collectively written letter sent to the legislature, Felder a Democrat, and Boyce, a Republican, acknowledged that the “intentions behind the law were genuine,” but that there turned out to be “valid unforeseen concerns and consequences.”

“I am pleased that we are going to repeal this ill-conceived law, which, regardless of the intent of its sponsors, had the potential to cause real harm to a large number of people,” said Felder in a statement. “It is my hope that, in the future, the legislature will be more circumspect in our consideration of new laws.”

“I’m pleased to see that members of the legislature listened to community input on this matter and worked together to find a bipartisan resolution,” Bello said in a press release. “We work best when we work together to jointly find solutions to the problems that confront us.”

Local police agencies previously said they wouldn’t be enforcing the law. Monroe County Sheriff Todd Baxter said the law was a “solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.”

The law made it illegal to annoy or harass police officers and first responders.

Opponents of the law argued the language is vague, and unconstitutional. The law says that “harassment” can be anything from annoying a first responder to assault one. Punishments include jail time and up to a $5,000 fine.

Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.

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