24 February 2017

The power to arrest peaceful demonstrators

Claiming people are being paid to riot, [Arizona] 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...

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...

But Sen. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, said that chilling effect is aimed at a very specific group of protesters.

“You now have a situation where you have full-time, almost professional agent-provocateurs that attempt to create public disorder,’’ he said.

“A lot of them are ideologues, some of them are anarchists,’’ Kavanagh continued. “But this stuff is all planned.’’

There’s something else: By including rioting in racketeering laws, it actually permits police to arrest those who are planning events. And Kavanagh, a former police officer, said if there are organized groups, “I should certainly hope that our law enforcement people have some undercover people there.’’
Classic black ops.  You plant your people in a peaceful group, have your guy perform an illegal violent act, then arrest all the others. 

More details at the Arizona Capitol Times.

Addendum:  A hat tip to reader Elaine M, who found a followup report that this legislation is now dead.
"As he listened to the callers, Mesnard realized their belief that the legislation was intended to curb free-speech rights outweighed any merits its supporters might put forward."

Note: found this via a new subreddit: r/esist.
"r/esist is a sub dedicated to compiling resources and fostering discussion to help resist the damage the Trump administration is doing to our country and the world."


  1. Lately I've re-read "1984" by George Orwell and "The Fountainhead" and "Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand -- all of which concern events similar to what seems to be happening with the Trump Administration. The protests that have taken place since the Trump inauguration were peaceful and no one was hurt in any way (that I have read or heard about). The First Amendment allows the right of peaceful assembly and freedom of speech. This newly proposed bill would not even wait until an assembly took place -- the police can arrest you for even thinking about or planning a protest. So what is a person to do if they disagree with the policies of the current administration and want to make their views known by large enough groups in an effort to influence lawmakers? Calling your rep on the telephone does not seem to make any impact, writing letters the same, sending emails the same, signing petitions the same -- and we can't all visit Washington, D.C. and, if we did, we could all be arrested even though our intentions are completely peaceful in nature?

    Is a revolution in the making?

  2. The good news is they decided to kill this law. http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/legislature/2017/02/27/why-gov-doug-ducey-wont-have-weigh-arizonas-controversial-protest-bill/98474882/

    1. Thank you, Elaine, for the update. I've added your information to the body of the post.


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