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Criminal Justice

Bill On Unlawful Assembly, Rioting And Failure To Disperse Heads To Full Senate

Oklahoma State Capitol Building
Claire Donnelly
/
KGOU
Oklahoma State Capitol Building

A bill increasing penalties for unlawful assembly, rioting and failure to disperse is headed to the full Senate for a vote.

 

The version of Senate Bill 806 that passed the appropriations committee Wednesday was a bit more moderate than the bill that was first introduced.

It no longer adds unlawful assembly to the list of crimes that can be used to charge organizers with racketeering, or defines threatening to touch an officer as assault and battery.

The new version still centers around increasing the minimum sentences for existing offenses like unlawful assembly, failure to disperse, assaulting a police officer or carrying a weapon at a riot, though the bill now includes maximum penalties as well.

Also intact is language that would make blocking public roads as a result of a riot a crime, and language that would expand disturbing the peace to include “threatening behavior with the intent to intimidate or harass.”

SB-806 is one of several bills the legislature has introduced in response to the protests and unrest of last summer. Most of these bills increase the penalties associated with rioting or unlawful assembly in one way or another, like making people arrested for unlawful assembly typically ineligible for bail, or providing liability protections for drivers who injure or kill protesters while fleeing a riot.

Next, SB-806 goes to the full Senate for a floor vote.

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