HB805, a North Carolina bill designed to ramp up punishment for people who participate in or incite "riots," has cleared the state House and is making its way through the final phases of Senate approval.
It is scheduled to appear before the N.C. Senate Rules Committee today, August 10, 2021.
The bill defines "riot" broadly:
A riot is a public disturbance involving an assemblage of three or more persons which by disorderly and violent conduct, or the imminent threat of disorderly and violent conduct, results in injury or damage to persons or property or creates a clear and present danger of injury or damage to persons or property.
Any person who participates in or "incites" such a riot would be guilty of a misdemeanor under the proposed law. If there are property damages totaling more than $1,500 in value through the course of the riot, or if anyone is injured, those charges could be upgraded to felonies.
The bill also contains provisions for assaulting any "Emergency personnel," which includes police officers and members of the National Guard. Such assault charges would be a felony under the proposed law.
(a) An assault upon emergency personnel is an assault upon any person coming within the definition of "emergency personnel" which is committed in an area:
(1) In which a declared state of emergency exists; or
(2) Within the immediate vicinity of which a riot is occurring or is imminent.
(b) The term "emergency personnel" includes law-enforcement officers, firemen, ambulance attendants, utility workers, doctors, nurses, members of the North Carolina National Guard, and other persons lawfully engaged in providing essential services or otherwise discharging or attempting to discharge his or her official duties during the emergency.
You can read the full text of the bill here.
ACLU Objects to the Bill
According to AP, the ACLU has spoken out against the bill, calling it an “anti-Black Lives Matter piece of legislation with several extremely harmful provisions intended to stifle free speech and the right to protest.”
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