April 29, 2021

BLM Activists Storm Oklahoma Capitol over Bills Protecting Victims of Riots

  • Flyover Country

By: Amy Jo Underwood

In Brief: 

BLM protestors entered the Oklahoma State Capitol last week, causing the Oklahoma House of Representatives to go into lockdown. The protests were over bills to provide protections for motorists who are attempting to leave the area of a riot, as well as a bill to protect personal information of law enforcement officers. 

The Background: 

The Oklahoma House of Representatives was forced to go into lockdown last week after BLM activists entered the State Capitol and disrupted the session, chanting, “We will use our voices to stand against corruption” and "No justice, no peace.”

The activists were protesting multiple bills introduced on the House floor, including bills providing protection to innocent individuals caught in the middle of riots, as well as law enforcement officers whose personal information was leaked online.

HB 1674, one of the bills protested by the BLM activists, protects motorists who unintentionally harm an individual while traffic is obstructed by a riot. It also "provides that organizations found to be involved with individuals participating in riots or unlawful assemblies shall be punished by a fine that is ten times the amount of the fine authorized by the appropriate provision of the bill." Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt signed the bill into law.

HB 1643, another bill protested by BLM activists, would make it a misdemeanor to knowingly publicize personal information of a law enforcement officer or public official with intent to threaten or harass the individual. A third piece of legislation protested by the activists included a provision banning transgender athletes from competing alongside biological females.

Notable Quotes:

"Any time that you're being disruptive, I feel like that hurts your cause. The First Amendment clearly establishes the right of free speech, the right to peaceably assemble, and also grants the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances. This actual bill, what it deals with is in riot situations. ...[HB 1674] is an important protection for citizens who are just trying to get out of a bad situation. When fleeing an unlawful riot, they should not face threat of prosecution for trying to protect themselves, their families or their property." - Oklahoma State Representative Kevin West (R-OK)
 

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