Goodbye 1st Amendment: New Bill Seizes Assets of Anyone Who Plans or Participates in Protests that ‘Disturb the Public Peace’

Activism, Free Speech, Government
Protesters Block Traffic to Arizona Trump Rally. March 19, 2016

Imagine having all your assets seized because you planned a peaceful protest that disturbed the peace? That could be a reality under SB1142, which just passed the Arizona state senate.

Under SB1142, Arizona’s racketeering laws are expanding to include rioting. This gives the state government the right to criminally prosecute and seize the assets of everyone who planned a protest that turned violent and everyone who participated.

The bill also redefines what constitutes a rioter as any person who “uses force or violence or threatens to use force or violence, if such threat is accompanied by immediate power of execution, which EITHER disturbs the public peace OR RESULTS IN DAMAGE TO THE PROPERTY OF ANOTHER PERSON.”

Read the full text of the bill at http://www.azleg.gov/legtext/53leg/1R/bills/SB1142S.htm

The vote was 17-13. One of the 17 that voted for this, Sen. John Kavanagh, gave the following justification for this absurd, unconstitutional new law: “You now have a situation where you have full-time, almost professional agent-provocateurs that attempt to create public disorder. A lot of them are ideologues, some of them are anarchists. But this stuff is all planned… I should certainly hope that our law enforcement people have some undercover people there. Wouldn’t you rather stop a riot before it starts?”

Who defines what is considered a ‘violent’ protest?

Who determines what ‘disturbs the public peace’? Does profanity, shouting, or loud music constitute disturbing the peace?

The opponents of a protest could just hire agitators to make protests violent, then the authorities could use this as an excuse to seize the assets of all the protesters.

You are peacefully protesting and some guy starts throwing rocks at windows. Not only are you arrested on racketeering charges, but then the cops come and seize your house, car, and belongings? Good luck affording a lawyer to defend you in court!

If this succeeds and is signed into law by the Governor of Arizona, you can bet a similar nationwide law will be on its way not long after…

2 Comments

  1. Since when did freedom of speech include destruction of property, looting, blocking highways, and assaulting folks? You want to protest that is fine but don’t interfere or hassle me or anyone else. OH and take your trash home with you. otherwise you re littering and should be prosecuted. The above photo is not protesting it is idiots that should be locked up and their autos crushed.

  2. If *my* group’s peaceful protest
    becomes infiltrated by agents of the State of Arizona, for purposes of defaming me, my group, or our protest, or for purposes of inhibiting me, my group, or our protest, or for
    purposes of enriching unlawfully the State of Arizona, its agents, or its citizenry, by unlawfully or unfairly expropriating from my group, or any member thereof, any part of our monies or property, then it is clear
    that it is not we, but the State of Arizona, its agents, and its citizenry,
    who are acting unlawfully, in the capacity of “racketeers”.

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