While there is much to debate when it comes to law enforcement powers, it is important to note the possible interpretations of legislation that could affect how citizens interact with police, no matter what “side” you’re on. While well-intentioned, the recently killed HB1025 seemed sloppy and could have had terrible ramifications for liberty. If it had passed, the bill would have made it a “misdemeanor to impede, provoke, or harass a law enforcement officer.”

The entirety of the bill’s text is as follows:

“642:11 Impeding or Provoking a Law Enforcement Officer.  

I. After receiving a verbal warning from a law enforcement officer not to approach, no person shall:

(a) Violate such warning and approach;

(b) Remain within 30 feet of a law enforcement officer who is engaged in the lawful performance of any legal duty with the intent to:

(1) Interrupt, disrupt, hinder, impede, or interfere with the law enforcement officer’s ability to perform such duty; or

(2) Provoke a physical response from the law enforcement officer.

II. A person who violates this section shall be guilty of a class A misdemeanor.”

Let’s break this down. 

First of all, a “verbal warning” could fall into any number of categories. The word “verbal” is the only requirement. Anything from “please step back” to “what?” could conceivably be considered a verbal warning; it doesn’t matter whether the person being issued the warning sees it as such or not. Whose statement would hold more merit in court, the police officer or the supposed criminal? The officer could simply say he issued a verbal warning, and there would be nothing the accused could do about it. 

Second, the bill states that “no person shall… violate such warning and approach”. How could a person be considered to be violating a warning if they do not understand the warning? What if the person being warned doesn’t speak English? What if the person doesn’t hear the supposed warning? I end this particular point with this: consider deaf people, who are unable to hear any verbal warnings, even if they are “proper” ones. (ADA lawsuit, anyone?)

What could the officer view as an “approach”? It could mean anything from running towards them to leaning forward slightly. The bill does not offer specifics or expand on anything it states within its brief text. 

Thirdly, HB1025 states that, after being issued the aforementioned verbal warning, “no person shall…remain within 30 feet of a law enforcement officer who is engaged in the lawful performance of any legal duty with the intent to…Interrupt, disrupt, hinder, impede, or interfere with the law enforcement officer’s ability to perform such duty.” This in itself brings up several issues. It is not always possible to move thirty or more feet away from a person (such as at a crowded room or protest). What can be interpreted as an “intent” to interfere? And, lastly, the words “interrupt, disrupt, hinder, impede,” and “interfere” may at first seem like confining terms, but in actuality are far from it. Most notably, the word “interrupt” can be interpreted as simply interrupting a police officer in the middle of a sentence. 

Perhaps most damning, the bill also states that, after being issued the “verbal warning,” no person may “provoke a physical response from the law enforcement officer.” How can one provoke a physical response from a police officer? What can be argued as a legitimate reason to physically respond to a person? What kinds of physical responses are permitted when an officer claims they were “provoked?”

Finally, the last line of HB1025 hammers the nail in the coffin with “a person who violates this section shall be guilty of a class A misdemeanor.” A class A misdemeanor, in the state of New Hampshire, is punishable by up to one year in jail and up to a $2,000 fine, and can also go on your permanent record. When you consider the possible interpretations of this bill, it can seem like a rather excessive punishment. 

Further, this bill would violate the freedom of the press by making it very difficult for reporters to do their jobs at scenes where police officers are present.

Thankfully, this dangerous bill was killed on 3/10/2022 by a voice vote in the House. 

Its sponsors were: Rep. Baldasaro, Rock. 5; Rep. Love, Rock. 6; Rep. Sheehan, Hills. 23; Rep. Ulery, Hills. 37; Rep. S. Pearson, Rock. 6; Rep. Post, Hills. 4; Sen. Carson, Dist 14; Sen. Guida, Dist 2.

This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Liberty Block or any of its members. We welcome all forms of serious feedback and debate. 


Nathaniel · April 2, 2022 at 12:52 pm

The police have no moral right to exist. Imagine if a regular, everyday person did what they were doing. We would deem that person not only insane, but a threat. The police are the standing army that is “more dangerous to liberty” than anything else that our Founding Father warned us about. The supreme court has ruled that they do not need to protect us. If they are not here to protect us, which is their ostensible reason to exist, then by extension, they are nothing more than the enforcers of the gang we call the government.

I am glad the bill failed. We need to remove the police entirely. For now, let’s remove their qualified immunity from them.

    The Liberty Block · April 5, 2022 at 12:23 am

    Excellent points! We agree that the government police must be much more accountable and/or abolished. Are you in NH? Will you help us abolish qualified immunity next year?

Deanne · April 6, 2022 at 2:27 am

I have copied and will paste here a comment I made on a recent Liberty Block article on this issue:

I have been dealing with neighbor bullying and harassment for years. For many years, we acquiesced and basically took whatever was given to us. Now here by myself, as I lost my mom and my son grew up and is on his own, in 2016, it got worse. In 2020, feeling I had few options, I began legal proceedings.

The bullying and harassment has continued and we (my son has input although he isn’t here much) have felt compelled to report to the police several times since summer 2021 to document some of the incidents.

I don’t know how a situation like this would be handled without police. I must say… they haven’t done anything to help, but at least there is an official record of some of the things that have happened.

Quite some time ago, someone I know said something to this effect: “The only thing worse than police is no police.” I can identify with that sentiment. I am a vulnerable lady alone, dealing with two bullies with big egos. No one can help.

Granted, the police aren’t helping, but if there were no fear of “the law,” I don’t know what these two men might do to me. I think things might be much worse if there weren’t some sort of legal deterrent. Even so, they are continuing to do what they can to tyrannize me and cause me trouble.

Court date is mid-May, but as I told the judge at the hearing in 2020, Wile E. Coyote (the older of the bullies) will never leave me alone. He has proven me correct. A court decision will not solve the problem of irrational men trying to get vengeance on me for finally sticking up for myself.

Please explain to me how having no police would make my situation any better. I am open to hear.

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