Home / #Ferguson / State Law Makes it a Felony to Touch a Police Officer Even Off-Duty and Out of Uniform

State Law Makes it a Felony to Touch a Police Officer Even Off-Duty and Out of Uniform

Two short-tempered men run into each other in a bar in Enid, Oklahoma. The combustible mixture of alcohol and ego produces the predictable reaction – a brief, stupid, and inconclusive fight in which neither side is seriously injured. When police officers arrive on the scene, onlookers expect that both parties to the altercation will be hauled away in handcuffs.

However, after one of them produces a police credential, he is allowed to handcuff the other and place him under arrest for a felonious assault on an off-duty law enforcement officer. It doesn’t matter that the individual making the arrest might have been the same one who started the fight.

This scenario is made entirely plausible by a newly enacted Oklahoma statute that makes any “assault” on an off-duty law enforcement officer a felony — and it is standard practice to treat nearly any physical contact with an officer as an “assault.” The law, which passed the legislature unanimously (always a bad sign), went into effect on November 1. In effect, this measure extends the cloak of “qualified immunity” to cover every aspect of a law enforcement officer’s life.

“I had several law enforcement officers in my district come to me this past year and explain to me that current law says that if I’m in uniform and I’m assaulted, then it is a felony,” recalls Republican State Representative Mike Sanders, the primary sponsor of the bill. Two of them, Sanders insists, were assaulted off-duty, although no useful details were provided to validate those claims.

“This is just one more tool to protect our law enforcement agents and officers,” Sanders continues. “Even though you make take off the uniform, you are always a law enforcement officer.”

This makes perfect sense – if we assume that the expression “law enforcement officer” refers to an identity, rather than an occupation.

State Senator Kyle Loveless, who co-sponsored the senate version of the measure, claimed that “there are people who stalk, threaten and assault officers when they’re off the clock simply out of revenge.” Stalking, menacing, and assault are criminal offenses in Oklahoma. Persistent and exceptionally violent offenders can be prosecuted for felonies, whether or not the victim is an off-duty police officer. The new legislation is, therefore, redundant at best.

However, it wasn’t designed to address an actual problem. It was intended to create a new entitlement for members of the state’s punitive caste, and to “educate” the public about our constant duty to serve and protect the police.

“We must do all we can to protect our law enforcement officers,” Loveless piously intoned. Sanders expressed identical sentiments in a way that unwittingly subverted one of the key tenets of the cop-worship cult: “We should make sure they’re just as safe out of uniform.”

Did Sanders mean to say that on-duty cops are actually safer than the general public, which is only protected by laws of general application? In an interview last April, Sanders sketched out a scenario in which “a criminal could pursue a law enforcement officer in their private lives and face a lower penalty” – a situation that he described as an “incentive” for attacks on off-duty officers. This would only be the case if the existing laws somehow reduced the penalties for violent crimes committed against off-duty police officers.

What neither Sanders nor other supporters of the measure will admit is that one purpose of the bill is to lower the threshold for “assault.” Any incidental contact between a mundane citizen and the sanctified personage of a police officer can be construed as an “assault on any officer.” In some circumstances, the act of a citizen is withdrawing from contact with an officer has been charged as “assault,” as well.

In predictable fashion, Sanders described his bill as an appropriate response to what he calls “the continued assault on our law enforcement officers nationally.” Given that violent crimes against on-duty police officers have been fewer in 2015 than last year, Sanders – like most people who recite the fact-deprived “war on cops” refrain – must be treating “anti-police” rhetoric as a form of “assault.” At least one Oklahoma resident has been punished, albeit through indirect means, for expressing a negative opinion of the police that was inspired by specific abuse suffered by her family.

In May 2013, Ashley Warden lost her job as a waitress at an Oklahoma City Chili’s restaurant for publishing an anti-police Facebook post. Under a photo of sheriff’s deputies, Warden declared: “Stupid cops better hope I’m not their server….” The restaurant fired Warden following a social media pressure campaign mounted by police unions.

“This is what she posts and what she chooses to post during Law Enforcement Week when we are honoring those who have died in service to our citizens – I think that’s pathetic,” pouted Sheriff John Whetsel, who claimed that Warden had “threatened” his officers. According to the sheriff, Warden “doesn’t have a clue about who they are or what they do or the service they provide.”

As it happens, Warden’s view of law enforcement was informed by the “service” provided by Piedmont Police Officer Ken Qualls, who wrote her a $2,500 ticket for “public urination” after her 3-year-old son tried to relieve himself in the family’s front yard.

The Warden family resides on a two-and-a-half acre plot in a small, rural town. When Dillan, the toddler, pulled down his pants, Qualls – who had been lurking nearby – screamed up to the home in his cruiser and announced to that he was issuing a citation, despite the fact that the child hadn’t actually completed the act.

Outraged, the Wardens contacted his employer, who blithely dismissed their complaint. After the family informed the media of what had happened, the ticket was withdrawn. A few days later, Qualls was fired by the town council – not for what he had done to the Warden family, but because of negative press coverage his behavior had attracted to the city government.

Qualls had spent 18 years as a police officer – and already qualified for a pension — which means that he most likely has never had an honest job and wasn’t facing destitution. Nonetheless, Qualls displayed the bottomless self-preoccupation that typifies his profession by filing a lawsuit against Police Chief Alex Oblein and the City of Piedmont. In doing so, he acted on the assumption that he had a property right in a well-compensated and stress-free job as a practitioner of state-licensed violence – a view apparently shared by the sponsors of Oklahoma’s new “Blue Privilege 24/7” law.

Intriguingly, the same Oklahoma Legislature that wants to extend special protections for off-duty police officers has made it a felony for citizens to take measures intended to protect their own homes from the police. In November 2009, a measure went into effect in Oklahoma making it a felony, punishable by a five-year prison term and a $10,000 fine, to “fortify” a home “for the purpose of preventing or delaying entry or access by a law enforcement officer.”

The statute, written by Republican (natch) State Representative Sue Tibbs, forbids Oklahoma residents to “construct, install, position, use or hold any material or device designed … to strengthen, defend, restrict or obstruct any door, window, or other opening into a dwelling, structure, building or other place to any extent beyond the security provided by a commercial alarm system, lock or deadbolt, or a combination of alarm, lock, or deadbolt.”

So it is that in Oklahoma, if you fight back when an off-duty cop shoves you in a bar, you can be charged with a felony. If, on the other hand, a SWAT team attacks your home in a no-knock raid, and its effort to breach your dwelling is thwarted because you installed “burglar bars,” you can also be charged with a felony. And if you protest that measures of this kind are the product of lunacy and political opportunism, you’re obviously among the proto-terrorist radicals waging a “war on the police.”

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  • Thats fucking bull shit

  • This is the primary issue I have with police, the obvious double standard. They are no different than the rest of the citizenry. In fact they (police) are our SERVANTS, at least that is what they are supposed to be. This law will only make an already bad situation worse.

    • read the lieber code

    • You are SO right!!! They already think they’re greater than God.

    • maybe we could all stop paying taxes. Isn’t that how they get paid.? I’m tired of paying for wars I don’t believe in and police who are all militarized and trigger happy. Judge, Jury, and executioner….they are supposed to protect and serve..

  • I had one try to start a fight with me while I was out…then the dummy anounced she was a cop. Haha!!! About 5 other chics chased her out of the bar.
    Not sure if they caught her….but it was funny.

    • I hope they caught her ignorant ass.

    • Haha….she ran for her life!!! I didnt even have to do anything. Went back to drinking my beer.

  • Cops seem to forget that they are public servants. They SERVE the public. The public does NOT serve them.

  • Like these bullshit cowards need more protection! Meanwhile they beat, abuse and kill us without consequence wtf police state!

  • Shot these fuckers if they assault you

  • ok, i know you’re trying to say some stuff, but thats a bit racist.

  • Complete. And. Utter. Bullshit.

  • This statute violates the equality under the law principle and any honest judge would throw this case out in a matter of seconds

    • honest judge, honest judge!!!! Power trippers like cops, most have been prosecutors. The system is rigged.

  • So if they get hugged or have intercourse is there still assault?

    • It is if the piggies decide it is. They can now go ahead and gang rape a woman, murder the woman’s husband if he tries to stop them, then charge the woman with a felony for touching them. The fucking subhuman monsters who wrote this piece of shit bill belong in a concrete hole.

  • Wtf, how will that help anything? ….

  • I knew as soon as i read the headline it would be some stupid hillbilly state giving more power to these criminal pigs!!!

  • During sex? 😛

  • The first thing that needs to be done is have the homes of everyone who voted for this bill inspected to ensure that they comply with the “security provided by a commercial alarm system, lock or deadbolt, or a combination of alarm, lock, or deadbolt.” portion of the law. I doubt if most of them do. Then the law needs to be re-written to say that if a cop is attacked when he is off duty and out of uniform because he is a cop, then it is a felony.

    • It should be obvious, and the article made it clear that that type of behavior is already illegal. I’m sick and tired of the idea that a cop’s life is more valuable than everyone else’s. It’s absolute bullshit. Cops are already protected by the regular criminal code, and that is all they deserve. They are not special flowers. Legislation like this isn’t intended to protect anybody, it’s meant to give the murderous blue thugs even more power to commit crimes without punishment. Fuck that shit.

    • I can see the cops off-duty antagonizing people to “try” something with them already with this law. The cops will be able to do what the law is actually for, but in reverse….

  • >>The figures show that the United States has locked up more people than any other country: a half million more than China, which has a population five times greater than the U.S.< <http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-prison-industry-in-the-united-states-big-business-or-a-new-form-of-slavery/8289

    maybe it´s not enough 😛

  • wont be getting much ass now will they

  • Cottonwool-baby cops – such utter pussy cowards.

  • Ridiculous. Should have to go to all cop bar then. Pretty much excuses a cop to be an asshole off duty and not get the black eye he deserves without charging them.

  • What’s it cost you if you make one suck your dick..?

  • Good luck getting laid.

  • They better be really good with the. “Do not touch!”

  • One more reason we have flyover states

  • wat state is this bitch rule!

  • You just KNOW that laws going be abused by all the asshole cops on a power trip.

  • immunity, WTF?

  • Play stupid games, win stupid prizes. Don’t wanna be harassed or attacked for being a heartless dickbag pirate? Don’t steal, kill, and lock people in cages for a living enforcing someone else’s fucked up version of right and wrong. #ACAB

  • guys ! why don’t you start worshiping them ?

  • Ridiculous! Lunatics! As a survivor of officer involved domestic violence (OIDV), I always knew to never strike back… It could cost me my life… But Oklahoma is treading on shaky ground here!! Domestic Violence, bar fights, disagreements that end in assault, etc would now protect an off duty officer if a person even defended themselves. This is lunacy at its finest. I, personally, choose to live… And if all states attempted this legislation… My life, as well as that of many others I know, would be in great jeopardy. ( Rosaura Torres Author, Clara Balcacer-Colon, Sherrine O’Brien, Nancy West )

    • amerika in 15 years or so will break up into 12 nations… goodbye OK, MS, AL AR, KY, TX and good luck. A house divided cannot stand

    • This is beyond wrong. Not fair when people don’t even know they’re cops and they don’t identify themselves as cops. My ex used to tell strangers that he was a garbage collector. And why are they considered cops all the time, even when they’re drunk? They can’t even legally use their guns when they’re drunk, but they do anyway, and there are consistently no consequences. This really turns them into Gods. They say cops are stalked when they’re off duty? Yeah, cause everyone wants to mess with a guy who always has a gun on him. Beautiful defenseless women are stalked all the time. Where’s their protection? Victim blaming is usually what they get. This violates the part of the constitution that says everyone has a right to defend themselves. It also makes it scary to go anywhere because you never know when an off duty drunk cop will prey on you and you are not free to defend yourself.

    • I am not surprised by this from Oklahoma. This state takes pride in covering up misconduct. Takes pride in high like top ten in the country PRIDE in Domestic Violence, Death of Women by Intimate Partner, Child Abuse. And I blame Law Enforcement one for OIDV and it’s affects on Civilians. District Attorney’s 95% white males who hangout with LEO’s and don’t find the crimes listed above as glamorous enough to prosecute.

    • Wow Jen, this is an excellent point and can put a lot of women and possibly older teens in danger as well as average citizens the officer may start trouble with.

      The passing of laws needs to become more transparent and more public. We should have a say in these things. Also emphasizes the importance of voting for the right people. This is crazy.

    • I need to go Google the difference between a statue and a law. I hear both those words and not sure the difference. This statue is going to cost Oklahoma a ton in tax payer money. I can’t imagine that there won’t be law suits.

    • So I’m guessing that unless there is already a U.S. law for this type of action ( and there might be ) this state statue is wide open for change.

  • Touch him hard enough so he can’t testify !!

  • cops should not be allowed to go to bars in that case. In fact they should be drug tested for speed, steroids, oxy, randomly once a week and their computers under watch for kiddie porn. They should not be allowed to troll for sex on social media, beat their wives or abuse their parents. Let’s demand they be held to a higher standard, especially if you can’t hit them in a bar fight.

    • Thank you Michael. Cops beat their wives and girlfriends at twice the national rate and many are murdered and ruled suicide. Cops as batterers usually get away with it because the reports are written on behalf of the cop, and the victims are told that they are trying to get him fired. Many women are beaten until murdered because no one listens to them and most people will not help them. If they manage to escape they are placed on a do not assist list and they are denied most, if not all police and court services. Thank you for caring about the safety of women as well as others regarding unethical LEOs.

  • The main side effect of Alcohol is violence so why drink it or even go to a bar ? That’s that problem solved.

  • Tell me about it I did 3 yrs. For a barfight with a drunk ass off duty pig. I whipped his ass but missed my family for a long time. I hear he is smoking Crack and has been kicked off the force. 3 yrs. Of my life for that shit starting no fighting and even a worse police officer. The law has never applied to pigs. Just us citizens. Not politicians or public servants.

    • All laws should apply to everyone the same. Qualified immunity is Orwelian double speak at best.

    • #WarOnCitizens

  • disgusting law

  • I hope their wives and partners have read this law too, and comply with it. Who are these thugs…god?

    • Officer Involved Domestic Violence OIDV is rampant. 2 out of 5 are DV abusers. Every implication you can imagine is a reality. From ignoring civilian domestic violence, to the Freddie Gray case where one of the six officers involved with his murder was twice accused of DV….if you have Netflix, watch A Death in St. Augustine

    • Thanks Sherrine I will look it up. Things have have gone from bad to worse so fast that in 10 years time who knows what powers these thugs will have. And yes, there is a very strong correlation between these thugs and DV. These men are no longer gentlemen anymore.

    • Abuse of Power, Policing Women and Police Wife blog are good places to start.

    • Excellent. I will join them.

  • Sounds like entrapment to me.

  • That’s not the way it works. …this is what happens when the system is broken the inmates are running the asylum. For security from the evil elements you have succumbed to losing your freedom

  • i’d batter the lot of them like ugly step children.

  • Let’s hope the courts can overturn this. “Equal protection under the law?”

  • Chronic felonization.

  • Seems fair

  • Seems legit.

  • They always had that privilege. They just put it in writing now.

  • This is why I avoid Oklahoma , fucked up laws !

  • The laws passed in this country have been a joke long before this WWE Creative team written storyline we call the 2016 Election.Badge or no badge do not go starting fights with ANYBODY and expect “privilege”.I dare them to pass that law in NJ they gonna have to open Reigon 3 up real quick.

  • So that means if you are a husband or a wife you cant either and if the officer lets you he should be charged with a denial of justice charge lol

  • so the will all suffer from Kaspar Hauser soon don t they, the lawmakers have no psychologists don t they know it s unhealthy????

  • I knocked a cop out in the boxing ring a long time ago… glad I didn’t get arrested

  • C’mon, you know they want it…

  • What about veterans? Or military personnel? Or fire fighters? Maybe parametrics?

    Oh I guess their just protecting themselves?

  • You either have the right to kill a cop through defense or you don’t, there is no in between!

  • The U.S. or the SS?

  • Is this Brazil?

  • That’s pure BULLSHIT

  • I am not surprised by this from Oklahoma. This state takes pride in covering up misconduct. Takes pride in high like top ten in the country PRIDE in Domestic Violence, Death of Women by Intimate Partner, Child Abuse. And I blame Law Enforcement one for OIDV and it’s affects on Civilians. District Attorney’s 95% white males who hangout with LEO’s and don’t find the crimes listed above as glamorous enough to prosecute.

  • Whole lotta onanism goin’ on there.

  • There should be a rule where off duty cops are not allowed into bars, nightclubs or anywhere else that serves alcohol, the reason being.
    They’re incapable of handling themselves when they’ve had too much to drink, and in most cases, the assholes always pull out their guns as a means of getting what they want, and I’ve seen it happen more than once at a nightclub I use to frequent.

  • THT IS SO FUCK8NG WRONG

  • WOW! Bullshit!

  • To be fair.. I think Alcohol is prohibited in Saudi.. At least no bar fight there.. This is worse..

  • WE HAVE ALLOWED THEM TO FORGET WHO THEY WORK FOR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • so now they can abuse the public on and off duty
    the untouchables what the fuck this is a licence to do whatever they want to any member of the public time to petition for weekly drug testing of all civil servants and demand that if a cops off duty and it kicks off he should identify himself straight away or just kick the shit out of them and do the time

  • BULLSHIT!!!

  • Dick suckers,.

  • Oklahoma won’t see any revenue From me. I just won’t take the chance to visit there.

  • Nothing new. On the last day of 1977 i went to a dance in Ok. There while dancing wit a sister-in-law a cop dressed in a suite with no badge attacked my wife and brother-in-law. When I walked up on them I thought he was a drunk. He was standing with his left foot high up on my wife’s left foot patting another man dressed in a suite in the stomach and as how my wife was telling him to get off of her foot, he was telling the other man to listen to the lying bitch. I pointed down and told him to get off of her foot. He went to waving his arms in the air and screaming listen to the lying bitch. Then i got man and said you son of a bitch get off of her foot. At that point he hit me. I returned the favor and had him beat down to the point he could not defend him self when a bouncer I knew came up so I quite. Then I found out he was the newly elected county sheriff and I wound up charged with aggravated assault on a police officer with great bodily harm and was facing 10 years in prison. I finally managed to beat the charges after 2 years in court and at a cost of $70.000. If I had not managed to come up with the money I would have done the ten years. This is what they call law in Ok.

  • Nothing new. On the last day of 1977 i went to a dance in Ok. There while dancing wit a sister-in-law a cop dressed in a suite with no badge attacked my wife and brother-in-law. When I walked up on them I thought he was a drunk. He was standing with his left foot high up on my wife’s right foot patting another man dressed in a suite in the stomach and as how my wife was telling him to get off of her foot, he was telling the other man to listen to the lying bitch. I pointed down and told him to get off of her foot. He went to waving his arms in the air and screaming listen to the lying bitch. Then i got man and said you son of a bitch get off of her foot. At that point he hit me. I returned the favor and had him beat down to the point he could not defend him self when a bouncer I knew came up so I quite. Then I found out he was the newly elected county sheriff and I wound up charged with aggravated assault on a police officer with great bodily harm and was facing 10 years in prison. I finally managed to beat the charges after 2 years in court and at a cost of $70.000. If I had not managed to come up with the money I would have done the ten years. This is what they call law in Ok.

  • Pathetic! !!!

  • Maybe the should do the same for our soldiers and veterans.

  • So I guess they can legally kill people off duty now also ?

  • This is really a dangerous thing for the officers. If it is going to be a felony charge anyway, the persons life will be destroyed. The thought process will be, I am getting a felony charge anyway and my life is basically over, I might as well end his life too. But,you get what you pay for.

  • fuckin cops can blow me …

  • Nils, any insight into this one?

    • That article is a terrible hack job. It hurt my brain to read it. It’s interesting that Kyle Loveless co-sponsored the bill, he’s the same state senator that is stumping hard for rolling back civil asset forfeiture for some very questionable reasons. I’ll take a look into this, I’ll bet there’s some hard lobbying going on from the fraternal order behind this new law. This William N. Grigg fellow needs to learn how to get out of the blatant propaganda writing business. I feel like I have to whack myself in the head with a 2×4 to make the pain go away now.

  • If a cop is off duty and being in a bar or pub and starts an altercation they deserve to have the SHIT BEAT OUT OF HIM. When we had POLICE MEN rather than CORPORATE FASCIST OFFICERS things were different and they actually respected and protected the people rather than serving the SOCIALIST REGIME.

  • Wrong totally Wrong!!!!

  • I’m sorry for Oklahomans, there is only one feasible response.. RECALL PETITIONS for any legislator that voted to enact this law, then a repeal with a new slate of representatives.

  • KNEEL!!!!!! KNEEL BEFORE YOUR GODS!!!!!

  • What if I stand REALLY CLOSE to an officer and put my finger right next to his face saying “I’m not touching you! I’m not touching you! I’m not touching you!”?

  • How are they supposed to get hand jobs at the truck stop?

  • I guess we all have to become police officers so we can have some rights

  • Yes and perhaps immunity against rape charges while on duty is NEXT!

  • Even though this is how it is

  • Tell me Officer Billy “I have something to prove” Badass isn’t going to abuse that while at the bar.

  • So….cops ain’t gettin’ laid.

  • America, the worlds newest fascist state

  • fuck you start shit get hit whats good for 1 is good for all this just means i`m not just going to knock your ass out this means i`ll cripple your sorry ass you will never work again

  • You must knock him out then run like wind

  • What state? Pa?

  • Not right.

  • This country is going to shit more and more every day.

  • We can fix this… But the road is long and hard. Can we police are selves? Absolutely

  • STATE law is just ASKING for a WAR by this point they are fucking PROVOKING us by releasing all these ludicrous laws they fucking WANT us to revolt they are just ITCHING to test out all their new fucked up gear out of our TAX dollar$ to BEAT us into place -,- we should include all these power hungry roid ragers in a special Olympics and have them fight monsters and ogres and see how fucking brave they are XD

  • RIP MIXON

  • Oklahoma wanking !

  • Fuck that, whoop that ass!

  • Guess what, if you don’t go into a bar, you won’t get a DUI or have to worry about drunk cops. Pick a movie, make some snacks & DRINK AT HOME!

  • it’s a serious problem, and your use of outrageous hyperbole like this comparison to Saudi Arabia only diminishes the case against the State.

  • NOT LEGAL, Federal law already says you have the right to kill a cop if he so wishes it by refusing to allow you your rights to the point of threatening your life … you have a right to self defense

  • It is illegal to assault anyone, but it is usually treated as a misdemeanor. This same rule should apply to off-duty or out-of-uniform police officers or the laws should be changed to allow everyone the same level of legal protection. Police are not above the law.

  • In Cops we trust. WTF?

  • Fuck Oklahomo and their bullshit!!!

  • You Okies have just been relegated to slave status.
    Hope you enjoy the abuse that’s headed your way by your overseers with badges.

  • In Detroit they just shoot anyone who starts a fight,you either cool or U ain’t.black, white ,cop, or criminal.

  • How do u even know hes off duty? Theyre not untouchable

  • Thats a good idea. Cops shouldnt be allowed to drink, smoke, do drugs either then.

  • So you can’t “touch” them but you can “punch” them. Hello loopholes.

  • I heard a guy say: a bullet in the head is not considered “touching”

  • do not touch them, they are so sensitive

  • Badges Don’t Grant EXTRA Rights !! CITIZEN On Patrol !! Cops have No Right to MAKE You Do Anything , They are there to Uphold The Law !! If you are Breaking a LAW ,They can Uphold the Law and You HAVE to Give Them your Name !!! THATS ALL !! PEACE

  • ohhh so if I see a cop beat up or otherwise hurt I cant touch him/her in order to help them,welll thats coool

  • FUCK THAT BULLSHIT IF HIS ASS HIT ME…HE GET HIT BACK