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Bill Increasing Penalties for Protesters Advances in Missouri Senate – St. Louis, Missouri

St. Louis, Missouri 2021-02-23 18:40:00 –

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  • Theowering
  • Thousands of protesters marched downtown St. Louis last summer in solidarity with police violence.

This story was originally published by Missouri Independence..

Republican Senator Advances Drastic law Early Tuesday morning, it aimed to impose penalties on protesters blocking the streets while further protecting law enforcement agencies investigating illegal activity and excessive force.

The bill also aims to prevent municipalities from cutting the budget of Missouri law enforcement agencies by more than 12% over five years.

“Freedom of speech cannot be done at the expense of personal safety and the expense of others,” said Senator Bill Eigel, a Republican in St. Charles County who sponsors the bill. “And I think that’s what’s happening.”

After hours of debate, the bill was first approved at around 1:15 am. The Senate must pass the bill again before going to the House of Representatives. The vote will take place this week.

“Our state’s current focus needs to be to restore confidence in police stations and increase transparency,” said Senator Steve Roberts of D-St. Louis. “Creating new criminal offenses for protesters and protecting police officers under investigation is a wrong priority.”

Democratic senators were able to slightly reduce the tolls of individuals blocking streets and highways. Amendments proposed by Senator Barbara Washington, D-Kansas City turned a person’s first offense into a breach rather than a misdemeanor. The second offense is a misdemeanor and the third offense is a felony.

Senator Carla May, D-St. Louis said she led a protest blocking the streets to blame her community for fraud.

“You can’t silence people’s voices,” May said. “You have to see the civil rights movement. There was no justice without a cry of peaceful protest.”

You may have tried to add a requirement for law enforcement officers’ mental health screening.She didn’t go through mandate, but she did Add language to set up a fund To assist police officers who have experienced trauma.

Eiger’s legislation combined three measures from another Republican-sponsored bill Senator Rick Brattin — Includes the upper limit of public security budget cuts.

“This is effectively a move to chase our law enforcement agencies, which are at the mercy of the task of keeping the community safe,” said Brattin, head of Cass County.

The other two measures included were to impose penalties on those who destroyed public monuments and ban probation or parole of those who attacked the first responders.

Most of Eiger’s bill focused on what he called the “Bill of Rights for Law Enforcement.” This is a series of statutory changes, “in an attempt to strengthen the right to due process in the event of an internal investigation accused of fraud,” he said.

Law enforcement agencies need to notify police officers of alleged violations. St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief John Hayden opposed the bill in a letterSaid that prior notice to police officers could jeopardize the investigation. Some requirements have a “chilling effect” on witnesses who want to come forward.

“Senate Bill 26 significantly undermines our ability to meet the expectations of Missouri residents in holding officers accountable for persistent allegations of tort,” Hayden wrote. ..

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