Texas’ Anti-Riot Act Means Peaceful Protesters Can Be Deemed Guilty ‘By Association’

Three protesters are suing the city of Dallas in federal court, saying they were wrongly arrested for rioting during protests in May.

By Alexandra HartJuly 2, 2020 11:24 am, , ,

After recent protests against the killings of George Floyd and other Black Americans by police, some demonstrators in Texas say they were wrongly arrested for violating Texas’ anti-riot statute while protesting peacefully.

Three of those protestors – Liliana Godinez, Yolanda McGriff and Megan Nordyke, all from Dallas – have filed a lawsuit in a Dallas federal court, claiming law enforcement officers used the statute to unfairly snare lawful protestors.

Miles Moffeit coreported a story about the lawsuit with his Dallas Morning News colleague Dianne Solis. He told Texas standard host David Brown on Thursday that Texas is not the only state with anti-riot statutes, and some of those statutes have been challenged recently.

“These cases illustrate almost an expectation, an attitude, that [law enforcement] are expecting a riot, when, in effect, these people are merely expressing opinions that the police don’t like,” Moffeit said.

What you’ll hear in this segment:

– How the Dallas plaintiffs claim they were falsely arrested, and have witnesses to their peaceful protests

– How anti-riot laws mean peaceful protesters can be deemed guilty by association with those acting violently

– How a California judge found that state’s anti-riot law “overly broad” after white supremacists challenged it in court

Web story by Caroline Covington.

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