Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words may never hurt me. Wow that old saying sounds like an ancient truth, it seems to be far from the case these days especially in New York City
New York City, The mayor of New York City Bill de Blasio on Thursday said the New York Police Department should confront people who say offensive things even if their conduct does not reach the level of criminality. Marks were made during the press conference on March 18 suggesting that the mayor encourages those who felt they were victims of discrimination to report it to the police.
While discrimination is completely unlawful and should not be tolerated on any level, it could really raise serious concerns about having Police confront people over what some people may interpret as discrimination. That could lead to police officers inadvertently violating peoples rights.
“The NYPD is a great example: one of the things officers are trained to do is to give warnings,” de Blasio said. “If someone has done something wrong, but not rising to a criminal level, it’s perfectly appropriate for an NYPD officer to talk to them to say, ‘that was not appropriate, and if you did that on a higher level, that would be a crime.’ I think that has an educating impact on people.” (said the mayor)
He went on to say that he thought it would make people think twice before saying or doing something that could be hurtful or offensive when police show up on their doorstep about it.
De Blasio said his administration was currently working to broaden the definition of what would qualify as hate crimes in the city.
The mayor also told reporters that he was instructing NYPD to widen their tracking of hate crimes.
This could raise a broader problem rather than a solution as this is a thin line that could cross over into suppressing free-speech.
Back in September 2019, the New York City commission announce guidance on what exactly would be considered derogatory use of certain terminology based on a users motivation.
“Threatening to call ICE when motivated by discrimination, derogatory use of the term ‘illegal alien,’ and discrimination based on limited English proficiency are unlawful discriminatory treatment under the NYC Human Rights Law,” the commission wrote.
“Fines of up to $250,000 can be assessed for each act of willful discrimination, and damages are available to complainants,” according to a press release from the commission.
Critics quickly jumped on social media to declare the new law an attack on the First Amendment.