Sunday, February 26, 2017

Arizona Targeting Violent Protests and First Amendment Rights

Extreme caution must at least be observed as Arizona Senate votes to denying citizens, yes both good and bad, they're first Amendment rights through the potential seizure of assets and property of protesters - many of whom Arizona accuses of being paid professionals. This is truly a slippery slope Arizona is walking on.

If this bill passes, the police could arrest anyone at a protest that turns violent. This leaves law enforcement substantial discretion in defining a protest as either peaceful or violent and wide latitude to target violent, non-violent, and organizers of the event.

Many are dismissing this unconstitutional bill as a minimal threat to pass, but the existence of civil asset forfeiture laws, random roadside checkpoints, as well as other subtle personal right infringement laws, urges nation-wide attention here. In a world dominated by control, fear, and down right stupidity, it might not be too far of stretch to see Americans applying for permits or other forms of government approval to enjoy many of today's accepted freedoms.

Headline: Arizona Senate votes to seize assets of those who plan, participate in protests that turn violent

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.



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