Senate approves Oklahoma Citizens’ Protection Act
Mike Seals - March 8, 2021 10:44 pm
OKLAHOMA CITY – The Senate has given approval to a bill clarifying and strengthening penalties for people who commit crimes during riots. Senate Bill 806, creating the Oklahoma Citizens’ Protection Act, by Sen. Darrell Weaver, R-Moore, was approved Monday.
“The Constitution ensures the right of peaceful protest, but this bill is about violent riots that can result in the destruction of public and private property and put people’s safety at risk,” Weaver said. “My legislation takes a reasonable approach by clarifying and strengthening specific penalties and requiring community service and restitution for damaged or destroyed property.”
SB 806 strengthens penalties for crimes including assault of a law enforcement officer, details penalties for those who refuse orders to disperse and for those who block or obstruct traffic on public highways or streets, as well as those who deface or destroy property during riots. The bill would also make community service and restitution mandatory, instead of optional.
Weaver, former head of the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, said he was appalled by the destruction of private property during riots in Oklahoma City last year, including the burning of a nonprofit called Dress for Success, which provides disadvantaged women with appropriate clothes, assistance with resumes and other services to help them find jobs.
“I think many Oklahomans were shocked and frightened by this kind of violence and destruction,” Weaver said. “Again, free speech and the right of peaceful assembly are guaranteed by the Constitution, but that doesn’t extend to breaking windows, burning businesses or destroying public property. This legislation is a common sense approach to help us better address these crimes and better hold perpetrators accountable.”
SB 806 now moves to the House for further consideration. Rep. Rande Worthen, R-Lawton, is the House principal author of the measure.
For more information, contact Sen. Darrell Weaver at 405-521-5569 or email [email protected].