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Lewis Stewart

James Brown / WXXI

Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo has signed a controversial measure that would punish people who annoy cops and first responders on the job.

A public hearing on the so-called "annoyance bill" was held Monday. It was the last step before the bill, which the Republican majority in the County Legislature passed last month in a party-line vote, went to Dinolfo’s desk.

Jeremy Moule / Rochester City Newspaper

Rev. Lewis Stewart, faith leaders and criminal justice advocates are asking Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo not to sign a controversial law. 

The measure, passed this month, makes it illegal to annoy, alarm or threaten the personal safety of first responders and various forms of law enforcement. Those who do, would face a hefty fine and possibly jail time. It passed in a party-line vote earlier this month. The bill’s co-author, County Legislator Karla Boyce, said she was inspired to introduce the bill by recent instances of first responders put in danger.

Leaders from several faith-based organizations have called for a full investigation into the death of a Rochester man. Fifty year-old Richard Davis died after being stunned with a taser by RPD Officer Thomas Frye. Frye has been relegated to administrative duties since the incident, but Reverend Lewis Stewart says that does not go far enough.

Stewart, who is President of the United Christian Leadership Ministry, wants police to put down their tasers, for now.

"Protocol involving the use of tasers needs to be re-examined."