This week, the North Carolina Senate approved a bill to raise stakes on people involved in riots that could lead to damage and injury.
A person can face criminal accusations and imprisonment if a mob causes property damage or assaults civilians or emergency personnel during a protest or emergency.
The bill will be returned to the House of Representatives and, if agreed, will be signed or rejected by Governor Roy Cooper’s office.
Republican Speaker of the House Tim Moore, one of the supporters of the bill, said in a press release that he witnessed “violence and destruction caused by riots here downtown Raleigh” in 2020.
“What the bill does is to impose stricter penalties on perpetrators of violence and looting, while preserving the rights of all North Carolinians to protest peacefully,” Moore said. “Our right to freedom of speech and assembly is valuable and must be protected, but it never harms others. House Bill 805 defends freedom of speech and the right to assembly. However, it only ensures the safety of the citizens. “
House building 805 Riot is defined as “public turmoil involving a group of three or more people due to chaotic and violent acts, or an imminent threat of chaotic and violent acts,” resulting in “injury or damage to a person or property. Or there is a risk of obvious injury or damage to people or property. “
A person may be prosecuted for misdemeanor or felony, depending on whether the weapon is used and the severity of the damage and harm.
Felony charges may be carried over if damages in excess of $ 1,500, serious physical harm, or death result from the actions of the mob.
In a floor debate, State Senator Danny Brit said the bill was written to keep cities and property safe while protecting the freedom of the First Amendment to peacefully protest. He said he was.
The bill passed the Senate with 25-19 votes and was split in line with party policy.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) called House Building 805 “harmful” and added that “many people would be discouraged from engaging in peaceful and constitutionally protected protests.”
“If passed, law enforcement agencies can use the law to punish people for exercising their right to protest by prosecuting peaceful protesters,” ACLU said. ..
ACLU argues that the bill is in retaliation for the “uprising for racial justice” in 2020, when violence began in May when the arrested black man George Floyd was killed. ing.
The May 25 arrest was filmed and in a video, 46-year-old Floyd said he couldn’t breathe as he witnessed Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck and seeking air. I did.
Floyd was declared dead an hour after the incident.
It was later reported that both Floyd and Chauvin worked as guards at a nightclub in Minneapolis called Ernu Eborodeo.
Pinney later withdrew the statement, but former club owner Maya Santa Maria said Floyd and Chauvin “are likely to come into contact with each other at work.”
Chauvin was convicted of state murder in April 2021.
Cost to the community
According to the September 2020 report (pdfFrom May 30th to June 7th, from the Raleigh Police Station, it was a week of peaceful protests that led to violence and property destruction.
“The subsequent mobilization and response of the Raleigh police was unique in Raleigh’s history,” a September 2020 “post-action report” from the Raleigh police chief said.
According to the data collected by North State JournalThe North Carolina Highway Patrol (NCSHP) reported that protests in nine locations around the state cost taxpayers $ 304,695.
By June 1, 2020, the price tag for human resources and gas, which worked 581.5 hours, was estimated at $ 19,925 in Buncombe County, Asheville, the journal reported.
The riots responded to the “Defund the Police” movement and were supported by the Asheville City Council, according to Brandon McGaha of the Southern Police Charity Association. Due to this situation, the Asheville police station and many other departments in the country are struggling to hire and deal with “the officers who are leaving a lot of people,” McGaha told The Epoch Times. Told.
July 2020, Triangle Business Journal State-wide insurance claims have exceeded $ 10 million.
Jack Phillips contributed to this report.