March 22, 2023

Senate criminalizes bystanders who get within 25 feet of police when told to stop

Article origination IPB News
Sen. Aaron Freeman (R-Indianapolis) said legislation to create a 25-foot bubble around police is intended to protect law enforcement. - Brandon Smith/IPB News

Sen. Aaron Freeman (R-Indianapolis) said legislation to create a 25-foot bubble around police is intended to protect law enforcement.

Brandon Smith/IPB News

Law enforcement officers get a 25-foot bubble around them that the public can’t cross when told to stop under a bill that’s a step away from the governor’s desk.

The Senate approved the controversial measure, HB 1186, mostly along party lines Tuesday.

The bill is pretty straightforward – if a person comes within 25 feet of an on-duty police officer after being told to stop, they would now commit a Class C misdemeanor. That’s punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.

Lawmakers of both parties tried to change the bill in the Senate. Sen. Mike Young (R-Indianapolis) wanted to make an exception for parents, when police have their child.

“We don’t have the right to interfere with the police officer; we don’t have the right to bump the police officer … but we should have the right to be with our minor child,” Young said.

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Sen. Aaron Freeman (R-Indianapolis), the bill’s sponsor, said he understands that impulse.

“But ... when somebody wearing a uniform says ‘Stop, back up,’ I think you should stop and back up for that amount of time,” Freeman said.

READ MORE: Bill would criminalize bystanders who get within 25 feet of police after being told to stop

Sen. Lonnie Randolph (D-East Chicago) had a blunter view of the bill.

“It protects bad cops, that’s what it does,” Randolph said.

The bill is headed back to the House for further consideration.

Brandon is our Statehouse bureau chief. Contact him at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Copyright 2023 IPB News. To see more, visit IPB News.

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