Protesting is acknowledged as a God-given right that is not only protected under the First Amendment against the central government, but also is acknowledged as a right by every state in the Union. Why then is the Arizona senate pushing to seize assets of those who plan and participate in protests that turn violent in violation of not on the right of free speech and to address your government with your grievances, but also a violation of taking property without being convicted of a crime?
The Arizona Capitol Times reports:
Claiming people are being paid to riot, Republican state senators voted Wednesday to give police new power to arrest anyone who is involved in a peaceful demonstration that may turn bad — even before anything actually happened.
SB1142 expands the state’s racketeering laws, now aimed at organized crime, to also include rioting. And it redefines what constitutes rioting to include actions that result in damage to the property of others.
But the real heart of the legislation is what Democrats say is the guilt by association — and giving the government the right to criminally prosecute and seize the assets of everyone who planned a protest and everyone who participated. And what’s worse, said Sen. Steve Farley, D-Tucson, is that the person who may have broken a window, triggering the claim there was a riot, might actually not be a member of the group but someone from the other side.
Now, I realize this references Republicans and Democrats, but that doesn’t mean that Senator Farley is wrong on this. Let me show you what I mean. Remember what took place in Ferguson, Missouri several years back following the shooting involving Michael Brown? Some people legitimately and peacefully protested the shooting as they believed the Michael Brown was a victim of police violence. It was later demonstrated that he was the aggressor. However, the people peacefully protested. Yet, provocateurs were brought in to turn the peaceful protests into violent rioting, which escalated the police state in Ferguson. Take a look at this video, in which young man is clear that is what was going on. He even says it was being used to get inside people’s homes.
Now, there is no doubt that the Republicans in Arizona believe this only targets people they want it to target, but they fail to see past what they are aiming for now, which in my opinion, is a usurpation of law.
“You now have a situation where you have full-time, almost professional agent-provocateurs that attempt to create public disorder,’’ said Senator John Kavanagh (R-Fountain Hills). “A lot of them are ideologues, some of them are anarchists. But this stuff is all planned.’’
I agree. We have uncovered where many violent riots are set up as protests and funded by wicked people, including George Soros. However, this will now put rioting under racketeering laws, which allow for the arrest of those who plan an event that turns violent.
“I should certainly hope that our law enforcement people have some undercover people there,” Kavanagh said. “Wouldn’t you rather stop a riot before it starts? Do you really want to wait until people are injuring each other, throwing Molotov cocktails, picking up barricades and smashing them through businesses in downtown Phoenix?’’
Of course, the answer is yes, but the thing to note here is that Kavanagh is speaking of a “potential” riot, not an actual one. However, one must have actual lawbreaking that takes place before a crime is committed. If the planning calls for lawbreaking, fine. Make the arrests and prove your case in court, but if a protest is merely put together and violence breaks out later, is it really just to arrest anyone and everyone who protested, even if they did nothing wrong? I believe that is going way beyond what the law should allow.
You deal with those who commit the crime, but you don’t begin arresting and seizing property of just anyone involved in a peaceful protest that goes south.
While some Democrats believe that there are no riots that take place by paid provocateurs to come out, they are seriously naive, or lying.
Sen. Katie Hobbs (D-Phoenix) claims the legislation is based on a false premise.
“This idea that people are being paid to come out and do that?’’ she said. “I’m sorry, but I think that is fake news.’’
I think she is a fake representative.
Stephen Lemons, writing for the Phoenix New Times, covered a hearing on S.B. 1142 by Arizona’s Senate Judiciary Committee. In his piece, Lemons pointed out that senate Democrats, “noted the obvious: that public protests often involve different groups with varying tactics.” He also pointed out that peaceful protesters could be held responsible “for the violent actions of a different faction or of individuals who act out while others remain calm.”
The bill passed by a vote of 17-13 along party lines and was sent to the House.
In my opinion, this is nothing more than an increase of the police state in Arizona. It’s a bad bill. Only those who break that law should be held criminally liable for their actions. Republicans should give serious consideration to this legislation before it is turned around and used against em.