Arizona Legislators Approve Bill That Would Allow Government To Seize Assets From Protesters

from the police-state-groundwork dept

Building legislation on top of the political equivalent of an urban myth is never a good idea. Fold in something routinely abused by law enforcement and you’ve got a proposed bill whose short name should be “Shit Sandwich.”

That’s the (tentative) plan in Arizona, where the existential threat of “paid protesters” has resulted in a terrible bill that promises to use a handful of Constitutional amendments as a doormat. (via Raw Story)

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.

Nothing good can come from the expansion of racketeering laws, which are already abused by government agencies and citizens alike. But it gets worse. A lot worse. It doesn’t just apply to protesters who damage property. It applies to anyone possibly connected to a protest in which damage occurs, even if they don’t induce or encourage the destruction. (Perhaps even if they speak out against violent acts, but still support the demonstration’s premise.)

And, to top it all off, police officers would not only be authorized to arrest people engaged in First Amendment activity just because someone down the street broke a window, but also to enrich themselves in the process.

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.

Supporters of asset forfeiture always claim it’s a great tool for defunding criminal ventures. I can only imagine the verbal gymnastics that will need to be deployed to justify taking cash, cars, whatever from protesters, especially when the state’s existing laws already criminalize rioting but without the added “bonus” of depriving rioters of their cash, homes, cars, etc. Do the legislators actually believe protesters are being paid in small, unmarked bills and mid-priced sedans?

The “guilt by association” aspect allows law enforcement to apply its discretion, which is seldom a good thing. The moment anything is damaged, it’s open season on protest attendees. In fact, it’s open season on non-attendees as well, if cops can dredge up anything that appears to be evidence of protest planning. Acquiring a permit pre-demonstration is no longer an act of good faith. It’s self-incriminating.

One supporter of this truly stupid legislation believes the state’s existing riot laws don’t work because… wait for it… the bail system exists.

Sen. Sylvia Allen, R-Snowflake, said the new criminal laws are necessary.

“I have been heartsick with what’s been going on in our country, what young people are being encouraged to do,’’ she said.

She agreed with Quezada that there already are laws that cover overt acts. But Allen said they don’t work.

“If they get thrown in jail, somebody pays to get them out,’’ she said. “There has to be something to deter them from that.’’

I don’t often can’t even, but… here we are. People have argued against the bail system because it’s stacked against the poorest criminal suspects, but I’ve never heard the system portrayed as faulty because it works exactly the way it’s intended to. And the new law wouldn’t change anything this legislator is concerned about. Brand new criminal charges stemming from the stupid bill would still allow suspects to post bail. The only difference is they may not have the cash to do it or a car to drive home if they make bail. Maybe that’s what Allen is referring to: extra layers of punitiveness because most current protests are targeting the senator’s party — which also happens to be the party in power at the moment.

This made it past a House Senate vote in Arizona, suggesting the state’s craziness isn’t confined to Maricopa County. It won’t survive a Constitutional challenge if it somehow manages to stumble out the governor’s desk without being vetoed.

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Comments on “Arizona Legislators Approve Bill That Would Allow Government To Seize Assets From Protesters”

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Anonymous Coward says:

>“If they get thrown in jail, somebody pays to get them out,’’ she said. “There has to be something to deter them from that.’’

You could always just not arrest them. Oh wait, this is from and an appeal to the same ilk that thinks an arrest is just a conviction by another name. Carry on then with your regularly scheduled burning of the constitution.

sorrykb (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Michael asked:

Why should the cost of the window come out of the pocket of the victim?

Bureaucratic hassles notwithstanding, under already-existing Arizona law, it doesn’t have to.

Arizona Revised Statutes § 13-603:

C. If a person is convicted of an offense, the court shall require the convicted person to make restitution to the person who is the victim of the crime or to the immediate family of the victim if the victim has died, in the full amount of the economic loss as determined by the court and in the manner as determined by the court or the court’s designee pursuant to chapter 8 of this title.

Machin Shin (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Well you see, that is what insurance is for. They pay for your window, or building (You know, if your looking to remodel you just break the window with a Molotov instead of a rock.)

Then you also get all the money and any nice things the protesters have on them. Who knows, you might get lucky and find some nice furniture in the protestors offices.

ShadowNinja (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I’d prefer these steps instead.

1) Find something that politicians who support this bill and civil asset forfeiture oppose.

2) Organize a protest opposing that same thing those politicians oppose.

3) Get someone to break some stuff at that protest.

4) Use the very power of this new law to confiscate the assets of said politicians who backed this law, by arguing that through their public statements on the issue they were a part of the group of protesters, even if said politicians weren’t even there at the protest.

5) Watch as the politicians are forced to suddenly take asset forfeiture laws and abuse their seriously when they’re suddenly the ones being robbed by it.

sorrykb (profile) says:

Sen. Sylvia Allen, R-Snowflake, said the new criminal laws are necessary.

“If they get thrown in jail, somebody pays to get them out,’’ she said. “There has to be something to deter them from that.’’

Ooh! Maybe they could also seize the assets of people who pay the bail for to get people out. And seize the assets of defense attorneys too! I mean, why stop at just an attack on the constitutional rights of protesters? Need to bring the whole criminal enterprise down, amirite?


On a related note, R-Snowflake is just a little too on-the-nose.

PostMortemBoredom says:

To Sen. Sylvia Allen

Here’s how you fix the problem.

#1 Get rid of tyrants in Government.
#2 Get rid of tyrants in the Police, Sherrif’s, ATF’s, FBI’s, CIA’s, NSA’s ranks.
#3 Pull your head from your ass and look at the Constitution you swore to uphold when you took office.
Guess what, you’re not doing your job.

Anonymous Coward says:

That is one good reason to carry the right kind of jammer with you. If a cop decides to use one of these ERAD machines to run your bank card and drain the money from your adccout, you just turn on the jammer, and prevent his ERAD machine from being able to access your account.

ERAD machines need wireless Internet connectivitity to work, so if you can jam 2g/3g/4g/5g/Wifi/Wimax frequencies, you can prevent the ERAD machine from working

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

What, you think they leave cars in the middle of a corn maze and not a fenced, guarded compound? And unless you wire a charger to a power line that is on when the car is off, your cell phone will be dead well before you hit the streets again. Lastly, if your phone is concealed it will not be getting GPS signals.

Other than those problems, it’s a brilliant plan.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

There are places to conceal a phone where it can still get GPS signals. I do that all the time when I am road trips in case my car is ever stolen. If the car is stolen, I can go get it myself, instead of calling the police.

That happen to me once. Someone did take my car on a joyride and left it as a gas station parking lot. I was able to use the GPS tracking the phone to find my car, and not have to call the police.

There are places to conceal a cell phone, or any kind of tracking device where NOBODY would ever think to look for it, where it could still receive a signal.

Having a hidden tracker is a good idea in case your car is ever stolen.

As for being in a fenced compound, a pair of bolt cutters would take care of the padlock on the fence.

Michael Schundler says:

Violent Protests

I think the vast majority of Americans support the right of people to assemble and peacefully protest. I think the numbers shrink, when that protest is intended to disrupt someone else’s right to free speech. You don’t have a right to force people to hear you when they don’t want to. Finally, the numbers shrink to a small number when protests involve property damage or personal assaults or any other sort of violence.

So given the media and social networks there are a huge number of outlets in which to express oneself. Similarly, there are plenty of public spaces in which to express oneself. Your cause or belief does not trump (pardon the pun) the rights of others. Intentionally disrupting speeches by people you don’t agree with should come under civil disobedience.

Civil disobedience means you break the law to make a point, but it also means you accept the responsibility and consequences of doing so. Anyone thinking free speech protects from the consequences of their actions is wrong. Back in my youth people burned draft cards and accepted the consequences. Today people seem to forget the “consequences” part of their actions.

At the same time we got lost about what the right of free speech really means. It was intended to protect people from the government suppressing their ability to criticize the government. It was never intended to be used as a weapon to suppress others trying to express themselves. Again that would come under civil disobedience and includes accepting the legal consequences of doing so.

There should be consequences for disrupting a meeting of others… people incurred cost and time to hear someone speak and your rights of free speech don’t override their right to hear what they came to the location for. It really is that simple.

bob says:

Re: Violent Protests

As you pointed out the freedom of speech is designed to stop government officials. Here we have a law that is being written to stifle free speech because those in power don’t like the consequences of their bad decisions. People get mad when politicians and police abuse their power.

Now that outrage doesn’t excuse violence or destruction and in a private venue you will be escorted out. However people have a right to assemble and speak out against what they see as wrong. Doesn’t matter if it is physically in person or virtually.

There already are laws on the books prohibiting destruction of property. They need to just enforce those laws. If they can’t catch the suspects of the crime then they are just going to have to make a better effort next time.

Abusing citizens rights because of a few bad apples is not okay. Just like punishing all police because of a few bad apples is also wrong. The problem is police and politicians can hide behind a desk or badge while citizens have nothing to help them due to efforts to stack the deck in favor of the police and politicians through bad laws.

The Wanderer (profile) says:

Re: Re: Violent Protests

Actually, he’s right about that part. If you had a right to force people to hear you, then for a third party to delete your comments on their Website – or even to prevent you from posting them in the first place – would be unconstitutional.

He’s just wrong about what that means in practice.

Thad (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re: Violent Protests

Actually, he’s right about that part.

I guess it depends on what you mean by "force people to hear you".

I mean, no, you can’t take somebody’s earplugs out if they’re wearing them.

But you absolutely can engage in offensive speech in a public space where you know people are going to be offended by it. I’m thinking specifically of the Westboro Baptist Church. The courts have repeatedly upheld their right to picket funerals.

Thad (user link) says:

Re: protestors

What to heck are these GOP controlled legislators thinking?

That they’re in Arizona.

Trump will be gone in the not too distant future


and so will these anti-constitutional politicians.

You’re not from around here.

It’s true that Arpaio was voted out of office by a significant margin, but before that he served six terms.

It’s true that Russell Pearce was recalled, but before that he was Senate President.

It’s true that Andy Thomas was disbarred, but before that he was County Attorney.

Yes, we do occasionally throw a bum out (see also Governors Mecham and Symington). But for the most part, people in Arizona love their bums.

Wendy Cockcroft (user link) says:

Re: Re: protestors

They just don’t have a problem with authoritarianism until they’re subjected to it, amirite?


This is how authoritarians win, people: they convince their adherents that it’s for “other people,” specifically, “the bad guys,” not “everyone everywhere.” Yes, there are exceptions, but “I didn’t mean YOU” is subjective and arbitrarily applied according to how well-connected you are. It seems to me that “Check your privilege” doesn’t mean “Drop it,” it means “Ensure that your privileged status is secure. If not, make it so.”

Authoritarianism, as I keep on saying, is EVERYBODY’S problem. It happens on every side of the political spectrum and should NEVER be tolerated. Freedom for me ultimately means freedom for thee. Remember that.

Anonymous Coward says:

This can’t be real. If it is then I hope this is the "Ahh" moment for poor "working class" Republican voters. They don’t care about you or their favorite word "the Constitution. It’s all about money, power and control. And if it is then you would make the best decisions for you and your family and stop falling for the boogie man that "they" tell you is out to get or take from you. And see "they" are the ones that are ACTUALLY doing so.

Wendy Cockcroft (user link) says:

Re: George Wallace Rides Again

In the wake of his defeat, Wallace adopted a hard-line segregationist stance and used this stand to court the white vote in the next gubernatorial election in 1962. When a supporter asked why he started using racist messages, Wallace replied, "You know, I tried to talk about good roads and good schools and all these things that have been part of my career, and nobody listened. And then I began talking about n__s, and they stomped the floor." – Wikipedia

Until you can persuade the dimwits to stop stomping the damn floor when the Two Minutes’ Hate call rings out, we’re doomed to perpetually repeat the Boogeyman Game cycle. The name of the boogeyman and the scapegoat(s) may change but the principle is the same. It’s why I refuse to play the partisan pattycake game.

Jordan (profile) says:

It's Constitunal only when it suits you I guess

Wow, it seams that everyone that didn’t used to care about the Constitution has become an expert on it now, I do agree that the bill we’re discussing is poorly written, and as it is at this moment unconstitutional, but everyone’s claim of protesting and rioting being the same thing is ludicrous.
If you’re protesting you aren’t breaking windows or threatening people with violence, also I don’t think being a “Paid Protester” should be protected by the first amendment, as it isn’t your opinion that’s being voiced it’s the opinion of whoever is paying you.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: It's Constitunal only when it suits you I guess

also I don’t think being a "Paid Protester" should be protected by the first amendment, as it isn’t your opinion that’s being voiced it’s the opinion of whoever is paying you.

Citizens United is the law of the land.

What they fail to realize is that shit works both ways, and they don’t like it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: It's Constitunal only when it suits you I guess

“Wow, it seams that everyone that didn’t used to care about the Constitution has become an expert on it now, “

Yup – all those constitution carrying tea baggerz now think they know everything there is to know about the constitution because they carry one in their pocket – many have not actually read it though.

Anonymous Coward says:

I submitted this as an idea for a story. Was hoping for a breakdown of the language of the bill- explaining exactly how it is, or isn’t, so over-broad.

Dem’s/Republicans are stating sharply contrasting views on what the bill actually says, and who it applies to. Dem’s statments are very much in line with what’s written here.

Rep’s say it only applies to people who deliberately and directly conspire to violence and/or property destruction- that it wouldn’t apply otherwise.

Which is it, and why?

Also- why/how are there two bills with the same designation? SB-1142 is also used for another unrelated AZ bill; what’s up with that?

ManonFire (profile) says:


This could be a slippery slope, but left leaning protestors deserve it. Are you honorable? Honor is a fundamental principle in law. A Judge is Your Honor or The Honorable. Given he is not honorable than he is a false judge and a hypocrite.

Justice is a fundamental need of man. One of the first things Moses did as he lead Israel out of Egypt was give law, and make judges. A Judge is an honorable man people may submit to. Two men have a dispute, and they submit to a judges authority because he is honorable, and they respect his judgement. He hears their case. He settles their dispute. Dispute over.

Do you like being lied to? STOP LYING. There are certain people who are hypocrites and deviants that like to lie to people and spread deceptions. They are Saul Alinskey’s. They belong in jail or dead for what they do. They are dividers and not uniters and the left shields them. They need to be exposed as harlots and hypocrites.

I started seeing myself as Peter the Roman. I have been shepherding people online. Given I was some sort of King and found myself in an Oligarchy, I may start seizing property like I was The King of France.

Wealthy people who promote communism and socialism are self-defeating.

Thad (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Justice

Are you in Durham, NC like I am the Blue Devil? Then you did not see me.

It is really easy. It takes some basic reading comprehension but I guess you are blind and deaf in sin like Robin Thicke "Blurred Lines?"

I’m more of a Weird Al fan.

Which is appropriate, given that you’re more of a Wordcrimes kind of guy.

ManonFire (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Justice

I am not insulting you. I am chastising you for being blind and deaf.

I walk up to a girl at a bar. I talk to her. She likes me. She has a friend. She calls her friend a whore, and makes fun of her. Her friend just takes it. Am I to believe she is innocent and good and pure, and her friend was bad, or is she playing off her sin on her friend?

Hillary Clinton mentions fake news and Right Wing Conspiracies. Hillary Clinton is not a virtuous woman. She is a proven liar. She is playing off her sins on someone else. She deflects instead of doing the right thing. She digs a hole and keeps digging. Do you support a Hillary Clinton? You are a harlot.

Thad (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Justice

I am not insulting you. I am chastising you for being blind and deaf.

I never actually said you were insulting me, dogg, but now that you mention it, I’m pretty sure calling a dude "blind and deaf" is insulting.

Do you support a Hillary Clinton?

Do they come in six packs?

You are a harlot.

I don’t even own a motorcycle.

She digs a hole and keeps digging.

I look forward to your next post!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Justice

the only truth is that everything can be a lie as you can not absolutely prove anything.

“Do you like being lied to? STOP LYING”
i’m not sure i follow, do you mean to say that if a person does not lie, then no one will lie to them? how can that work on a macro level? my baby doesn’t lie, but he hears Trump say that “he’s the least racist person ever”… the turd burger just lied to my child who has never lied. or are you saying we’re all lying so we don’t deserve truth? or maybe it’s only your truth that matters and everyone should learn from it?

i don’t know dude, you sound pretty desperate and i hope you have some friends to talk to. if not, feel free to preach on…though TD comment section on an article about govt over reach is a bit misplaced IMHO.

/troll fed

ManonFire (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Justice

I am more of a prodigal son. I learned some hard lessons, and found God in a big way.

The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.” (Matthew 11:19)

I am not Jesus. That is not fake news.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Justice

you can’t find what does not exist my friend. I think you only found yourself.

i don’t subscribe to being told what to do by some dusty ass book that was put together in just the last two thousand years by asshats who worked to control populations and that also is so full of falsities you might as well call it info wars or breitbart or trump.

saying fake news is cool though right? its fake news when i don’t like what that news guy says. plus if i don’t like one thing about them i should hate the rest…because that’s what that non-white guy would have done 2018 years ago.

anyways… so back to it… do you support the government taking things that don’t belong to them? should we get a tax break when the gov’t takes our stuff, since we already paid taxes on it likely? do they pay off my loan when they take my car or do i get to pay that too?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Justice

I lived in Murfreesboro, TN. I walked home from the bar one night doing the right thing. I ended up arrested. I minded my own business. I hurt no one. I don’t remember talking to anyone at the bar other than the bartender. I was celebrating, and I kept it to myself. I walked home.

I ended up in jail for 27 days. In Murfreesboro, TN, that is Rutherford Country, you need a Co-Signer to bail out. I had room on my credit card. If my bail was $1000 or $100 with a bail bondsmen, I offered to pay the $1000. I go to court. I get my money back. It helps my credit. I stayed in jail 27 days. My 8th Amendment Rights were violated.

Progressives have become a Luciferian Joke and so are you. They seem more interested in Bruce Jenner and allowing women into men’s bathrooms them justice or anything good.

As far as I am concerned you are a failure at life. Do you know who I do not listen to? Luciferian weirdos who think they figured it out, and know better than the last 2000 or more years of history. People who believe they know better than God because their dad or mom was a hippie and more stupid than Jenny from Forest Gump.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Justice

I was with you up until the last two paragraphs.

Why do you claim that all members of a group you dislike exhibit the same negative characteristics which trigger your anger? Is it just easier for you that way?

What is a progressive? This term has been abused to the point that it no longer has meaning without context.

I had to look at the prior post a second time … I saw nothing referring to Bruce or restrooms, what are you going on about? You think that when someone disagrees with you this means they are also guilty of everything you dislike? – wow

What is your criteria for being a success at life?

Do I care to whom you do not listen?

I think you are a bit weird but being weird does not make one a failure, neither does it make one a luciferian – whatever that is.

What specifically has the modern world “figured out” that you believe is incorrect?

orbitalinsertion (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Justice

What are you even talking about? The girl in the bar is a left-wing protester?

Sure, Hillary Clinton is a liar. Are you claiming that there are those in politics who are not? Apparently in the right wing? Maybe a certain special someone?

Please don’t confuse being blind and deaf with an inability to buy your particular sort of bullshit.

ManonFire (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Justice

It really has nothing to do with politics.

Secular Humanism is like Jodie. It is bad fruit, and all the ideologies associated with it, are false idols in someone’s heart. Some men worship themselves. They believe that man can solve all the world’s problems outside of God. God has a plan. Do you ask him? His plan is The Kingdom of God.

Some men worship themselves. They are Luciferians who would like to be their own god. They worked to secularize pagan ideas or rituals, and hide them in plain sight. The last few years Burning Man concert has been in the news a lot. Did you know that Burning Man was a Pagan Celtic ritual which may of had to do with human sacrifice? Did you know that a lot of what goes on at Burning Man is a continuation of the Counter Culture from the 1960’s, and a rejection of God?

The Counter Culture and Secular Humanism are false idols in someone’s heart. God controls his Spirit like a dial on your car radio. He may turn it down when people fall deep into wickedness and idolatry. Don’t be a Jodie.

ManonFire (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Justice

Reasons I know Pizzagate not false news. In spring 2014, I started seeing myself as “Not Jesus.” You can click on my facebook to figure out why.

And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me. (2 Kings 2:9)

I am not Jesus like the song. I was aware of some “Eyes Wide Shut.” I know have proof.

Anonymous Coward says:

When it comes to asset seizure, one you thing you need, with cops carrying these ERAD devuces, is a jammer that will prevent the devices.

With ERAD they can run your bankcards and take every penny from your account, which is why, if you take road trips, like I do, you need a jammer that block wireless internet frequencies that ERAD needs.

When a cop lights, you just flick on your jammer. If the cop wants to see your cards, he will unable to get anything from your your bank accounts, because ERAD machine will be unable to get on the Internet, on account of being jammed.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

There is a new very expensive jammer model out there that will keep the antennae seperate from the jammer itself, so you could hide the jammer where a cop would never find it. This jammer costs about $3500, plus shipping and sales tax, but if it keeps you from getting your money taken it is worth it.

With your jammer hidden from view, the cop will never figure out his ERAD device is being jammed.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

While jamming is one option, another option, if you are on a road trip is to only have your PayPal card with keep the page for shutting down your card handy.

This way when the cop wants you see your card,you can, after he walks way, quickly go to that page, and shut down your card, so that when he runs it and tries to take anyting, the transaction will be declined by PayPal.

If your bank has the option to instantly shut down your card, via the website, just keep that page, and when the cop walks over to run your card through his machine, quickly go to that page, and deactivate your card, causing your bank to decline the transaction.

Unlike with jammers, there is no criminal statute that could be used against you.

To find out whether this will work, check your bank’s website, find that page, and then bookmark it.

That cop will have no idea what is going on when your card gets declined.

Paypal DOES have this, other banks and prepaid cards probably have this.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

One other way to do it, depending on what kind of car you have is to find a place the bulk of your bank credit cards and just have a prepaid card, such as NetSpend or Momentum with only a couple hundred bucks on it.

If a cop wants to see your cards, you show him the one card, and if he asks if you have any other cards, you just lie to him and tell him no.

And there are places you can hide your cards, in most cards, where a cop will NEVER find them.

dobbie606 (profile) says:

meh...a lot of it about
…Al-Araqib, in the Naqab desert in the south of present-day Israel, has been razed 101 times already since 2010…Israeli authorities filed another lawsuit urging the court to order al-Araqib’s residents to pay a daily fine of 5,000 shekels (around $1280).

Moreover, the villagers have also been sued for the cost of the first eight demolitions of their village, for which Israel is seeking 1.8 million shekels ($467,000)… Midnight10 says,
Aw, that makes Obama and Netanyahu so proud. Almost as proud as bulldozing a 300 year old Palestinian cemetery to lay the foundation for the Israeli Museum of Tolerance. Talk about an oxymoron. Bedouins won’t give up…

CClark says:

Maybe the rioters will get the hint. Maybe the people who protest along with rioters will get the hint. Maybe protesters will work WITH law enforcement to identify rioters for appropriate legal action. Protester should have ZERO tolerance for violence of ANY kind at their events. I am confident that if the protesters offer up good faith assistance to police so the rioters will get what is coming to them, the legitimate protesters will be fine.

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