DALLAS, TX – The governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, has unveiled plans to promote legislation within the state that would levy harsher penalties to those that engage in riotous behaviors while blending in with protesters during demonstrations.
Governor Abbott made the announcement on September 24th, listing a string of proposals aimed directly at the antics that often transpires during the riots and unlawful assemblies that have taken place in major cities all over the nation in recent months.
“Some people participate in riots without ever being there. What they do is they aid and they abet riots with funds or organizational assistance. This will be a felony that will lead to jail time.”https://t.co/9QLTuCEjbT
— CBS Local (@cbslocal) September 25, 2020
While speaking to members of the press, Governor Abbott set the tone of how he perceives the criminal acts that have transpired during various riots and protests:
“The constitution does not provide a right to riot, to rob, to loot, to set fires – to physically harm anyone or anything.”
According to the governor, he’s proposing that causing any sort of injury toward persons or destruction of property by rioters would lead to felony-level charges.
Anyone who strikes a law enforcement officer during a riot will face a mandatory minimum of six months in jail. The governor also wants to make it a felony-level charge to use lasers that are aimed at law enforcement officers.
The blocking of hospital entryways and exits would also constitute a felony-level offense. Those present at protests or riots that employ the use of fireworks could also face jail time under the governor’s proposal.
Texas is cracking down on rioting.
The Constitution permits "peaceable" protests — but it doesn't provide the right to riot, rob, loot, set fires or physically harm anyone or any property.
We propose 6 laws that punish rioters & protect communities.https://t.co/20Mb4YQJPv
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) September 24, 2020
There’s also the addition that no bail will be granted toward rioters until they make their first appearance in court, which Governor Abbott said will eliminate the “revolving-door” of rioters getting arrested and then released in time for the next riot:
“This will prevent the mockery of the revolving-door arrests that we saw in Dallas during the riots that occurred early this year and will ensure that these dangerous rioters will not be immediately released back onto the streets to engage in further riots without first having to go before a court appearance.”
And lastly, those caught contributing any kind of funding toward riots that occur within Texas could face felony charges as well.
Speaking on that matter, Governor Abbott stated:
“Some people participate in riots without ever being there. What they do is they aid and they abet riots with funds or organizational assistance. This will be a felony that will lead to jail time. We also proposed giving the attorney general the power to pursue civil penalties against people in organizations that assist in riots”
Kim Cole, a civil rights attorney, thinks that Governor Abbott’s proposal is a means to vilify anyone who engages in legal protests:
“He is following the party line and going with the national narrative that those who protest against injustice are criminals and that is absolutely inaccurate.”
But when looking at the proposals through an honest lens, there’s nothing suggested by Governor Abbott that takes aim at lawful protests, but rather the sort of crimes that can – and have – occurred during protests and riots.
However, this proposal brought forth by Governor Abbott is nearly synonymous with legislation being proposed by Florida Governor Rick DeSantis.
Here’s further details on that report.
FLORIDA – In what can only be described as the most aggressive and encompassing form of combatting the defunding of police endeavors and the violent riots that go in tandem with those efforts, Governor Rick DeSantis proposed legislation that has been dubbed as the “Combatting Violence, Disorder and Looting and Law Enforcement Protection Act”.
And by reviewing the proposed legislation highlights, those in favor of riots-free cities are likely to cheer…as for those adoring or engaging in riots, they’re not exactly thrilled.
But one of the more interesting portions in this legislation is state grants or aid will be pulled from local governments that decide to defund their police departments.
Today I announced bold legislation that creates new criminal offenses and increases penalties for those who target law enforcement and participate in violent or disorderly assemblies. We will always stand with our men and women in uniform who keep our communities safe. pic.twitter.com/ITl5GmmrZJ
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) September 21, 2020
The proposed act is broken down into three separate sections, which are labeled as:
- New criminal offenses to combat rioting, looting and violence
- Increased penalties
- Citizen and taxpayer protection measures
From what the breakdown of each section reads, this would be a monumental tool to cease the types of acts that many have witnessed across the country over the past few months in the era of rioting, arson and looting.
According to the first section dedicated to combatting the likes of rioting, the following is written:
“Prohibition on Violent or Disorderly Assemblies: 3rd degree felony when 7 or more person are involved in an assembly and cause damage to property or injure other persons.”
While this may sound an awful lot like a riot, Florida law is rather vague on the definition of a riot – which then reverts to interpretation of rioting in common law – but also affords an additional charge for acts akin to rioting (basically, two felonies charges instead of one).
Do you want to join our private family of first responders and supporters? Get unprecedented access to some of the most powerful stories that the media refuses to show you. Proceeds get reinvested into having active, retired and wounded officers, their families and supporters tell more of these stories. Click to check it out.
The first section on the proposed legislation continued with laws against “obstructing roadways” that would also make it legal for drivers harassed by a mob of unpermitted protesters to flee from safety and not suffer any legal consequences for possible death or injury to said members of the mob. Obstructing the roadway would also result in a 3rd degree felony.
Also, protesters harassing patrons of establishments “such as a restaurant” would result in a misdemeanor. What that would mean is a group of people who were say surrounding someone having a meal and yelling at them to raise their fist for BLM would all get arrested.
That’s not all though – toppling monuments or damaging any public property during a riot or protest will also land someone with a 2nd degree felony if this legislation passes. But this legislation gets even better…because it would also utilize RICO liability for anyone who is found to have funded or organized any violent or disorderly assembly.
When it comes to the “increased penalties” portion of the act, malefactors who strike a law enforcement with anything – be it fist or projectile – during any “violent or disorderly assembly” would have to spend a minimum of six months in jail.
Further sentence enhancements are also mentioned for anyone throwing an object during a riot that strikes anyone, be they law enforcement or not. Also, anyone who travels from out of state to participate in “a violent or disorderly assembly” will get a sentence enhancement for alleged crimes.
But section three, dubbed as the “citizen and taxpayer protection measures” really reinforces that this act is aimed at making sure innocent people affected by these riots will attain justice – and that local governments will be held accountable for enabling the acts of rioters:
- No “Defund the Police” Permitted: Prohibits state grants or aid to any local government that slashes the budget for law enforcement services.
- Victim Compensation: Waives sovereign immunity to allow a victim of a crime related to a violent or disorderly assembly to sue local government for damages where the local government is grossly negligent in protecting persons or property.
- Government Employee/Benefits: Terminates state benefits and makes anyone ineligible for employment by state/local government if convicted of participating in a violent or disorderly assembly.
- Bail: No bond or bail until first appearance in court if charged with a crime related to participating in a violent or disorderly assembly; rebuttable presumption against bond or bail after first appearance.
It’s with little surprise that those in support of the riots are mad – or even still trying to lay blame on police officers for people rioting and burning down buildings.
Man – you folks really love that gaslighting. I'm sure police just made people loot shoes stores, set buildings on fire and terrorize restaurant patrons. I think you're just mad that miscreants will get hemmed up.
— Greg Hoyt (@GregHoytLET) September 23, 2020
But aside from those upset, many online are absolutely thrilled at the proposed legislation brought by Governor DeSantis.
And all things considered, it’s hard not understand why many would be on board with an act of this magnitude.
Want to make sure you never miss a story from Law Enforcement Today? With so much “stuff” happening in the world on social media, it’s easy for things to get lost.
Make sure you click “following” and then click “see first” so you don’t miss a thing! (See image below.) Thanks for being a part of the LET family!