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.”