To determine whether the officer’s fear is reasonable, the court considers what a reasonable person would normally find frightening. Words alone are generally not enough to prove aggravated assault. There must be some sort of action, such as waiving a tire iron while yelling at an officer or threatening to shoot while holding a gun.
A recent Illinois case held that a defendant’s yelling obscenities and threatening “I’m going to get your ass” while leaving a courthouse was not enough to place an officer in reasonable fear of harm. The court acknowledged that deputies have a difficult job keeping the peace but stated “We cannot find any Illinois cases that would support a conviction because mere words alone without a gesture objectively does not place a person in reasonable apprehension of receiving a battery.” (See People v Taylor.)
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