BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - State Rep. Allen Treadaway (R - Morris) said he is introducing legislation which will create new crimes and penalties for people who incite or participate in riots and also provide additional protections for police officers and other first responders.
Treadaway, a retired police officer, said he began drafting the legislation this summer after a political protest in downtown Birmingham became a riot that resulted in widespread damage, burglaries and the vandalization of public property.
”Because the freedom of speech is so important, our founding fathers made it the first enumerated right in the U.S. Constitution, but when protest turns to violence, that liberty no longer applies,” Treadaway said. “We must protect Alabama businesses, public property, and first responders from the kind of mob rule that took over the streets of Birmingham this summer, and my legislation establishes a firm first step toward achieving that goal.”
Among the provisions of Treadaway’s legislation are:
- A person who is arrested for knowingly participating in a riot would be placed on a 24-hour hold before becoming eligible for bail, and, upon conviction, would face a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 days in jail and an order of restitution. [Note: The 24-hour hold requirement in this and other sections will require passage of an accompanying constitutional amendment.]
- A person who knowingly participates in the new crime of “Aggravated Riot,” which requires bodily or property damage to result, would also be held for 24 hours before becoming eligible for bail, and, upon conviction of the Class C felony, would face a mandatory minimum sentence of six months and an order of restitution.
- Those convicted of Riot, Aggravated Riot, or Inciting a Riot would become ineligible to hold public office in Alabama.
- The crime of Assault Against a First Responder in the first and second degrees are created and those arrested for the offenses are initially held for 24 hours before becoming bail-eligible. A First Degree conviction, which would be a Class B felony, results in at least one year in jail, a $15,000 fine, and an order of restitution, and a Second Degree conviction, classified as a Class C felony, carries a minimum six-month jail sentence, a $5,000 fine, and a restitution requirement.
- Any government entity in Alabama that defunds a local law enforcement agency would lose eligibility for any state funding, grants, revenues, or other forms of aid. In addition, any entity that defunds a law enforcement agency would become civilly-liable for any violent crime that result from the action.
- The crime of purposely blocking an Interstate would become a felony with accompanying fines and incarceration.