N.C. Senate passes anti-riot bill, adds stiffer penalties for rioting and vandalism charges

Police shoot pepper spray toward a protester during a demonstration over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in Minneapolis Police custody, in Boston, Massachusetts on May 31, 2020. - Authorities imposed curfews in the capital Washington and other major US cities on May 31 to prevent fresh rioting after anti-racism protestors again took to the streets to voice their fury at police brutality. (Photo by Joseph Prezioso / AFP) (Photo by JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images)

Police shoot pepper spray toward a protester during a demonstration over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in Minneapolis Police custody, in Boston, Massachusetts on May 31, 2020. - Authorities imposed curfews in the capital Washington and other major US cities on May 31 to prevent fresh rioting after anti-racism protestors again took to the streets to voice their fury at police brutality. (Photo by Joseph Prezioso / AFP) (Photo by JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images)

Police shoot pepper spray toward a protester during a demonstration over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in Minneapolis Police custody, in Boston, Massachusetts on May 31, 2020. (JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images)

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UPDATED 2:05 PM PT – Saturday, August 28, 2021

North Carolina has inched one step closer to imposing harsher punishments on individuals who engage in rioting and vandalism. A proposal seeking to punish rioters with felony charges and hefty fines for violence recently passed the Republican-controlled state Senate on a party-line vote.

The new measures are in response to the violence seen in the wake of the death of George Floyd, which was estimated to have caused millions of dollars in damage in North Carolina alone. The measure would require those arrested due to involvement in a riot be held behind bars for up to 48 hours without bond.

“I saw firsthand the violence and destruction caused by rioters right here in downtown Raleigh last year,” said Republican House Speaker Tim Moore. “Our rights to free speech and assembly are precious and must be preserved, but never at the expense of harm to others.”

The bill is expected to pass the Republican-controlled House before heading to Democrat Gov. Roy Cooper’s desk. Cooper has expressed concern with the advancement of the legislation in the past. However, he has also said “we should not have riots, and people who take part in riots should be prosecuted.”

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