A Tennessee bill would create harsher penalties for protesters while offering immunity to some drivers if they unintentionally injure a protester.
“This legislation promotes law and order and protects Tennessee communities against violence by safeguarding public roadways and increasing penalties for those who commit these reprehensible acts against innocent people,” Republican state Rep. Ron M. Gant said. “These senseless acts have no place in a civil society.”
The legislation would also increase the penalty against protesters who block a roadway, making it a Class E felony, which carries up to six years in prison.
However, critics say it will discourage people from protesting and keep people from “raising our voices against whatever they want to pass.”
“They have to practice ‘due caution,’ which is as vague a term as I have ever seen,” said Angel Stansberry, a social justice activist. “This, combined with the permitless carry, is a way for them to encourage redneck vigilantism, and it puts our lives in danger. It’s already put people’s lives in danger, even without granting immunity to a driver. People have already been run over while protesting,” she added.
The bill comes after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis recently signed what he described as “the strongest anti-rioting, pro-law enforcement piece of legislation in the country.”
“We saw last summer some of the local governments were actually telling, not necessarily in Florida, but throughout the country, basically telling these folks to stand, telling police to stand down while cities burned, while businesses were burned, while people were being harmed,” he added when he signed the bill last month. “That’s a dereliction of duty.”
The law makes it harder for local governments to strip funding from law enforcement departments and creates a minimum sentence for those convicted of assaulting police officers.
Protests and riots raged across the nation last summer following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and have continued into 2021 after other similar deaths of black Americans.
- ^ Republican state Rep. Ron M. Gant said. (www.cnn.com)
- ^ State lawmakers will discuss the legislation (www.wkrn.com)
- ^ FLORIDA SHERIFF SHOWS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A PEACEFUL PROTEST AND RIOT WITH TWO PHOTOS (www.washingtonexaminer.com)
- ^ Florida (www.washingtonexaminer.com)
- ^ CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER (www.washingtonexaminer.com)
- ^ makes it harder for local governments to strip funding from law enforcement (www.washingtonexaminer.com)