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House Bills Create New 'Riot' Offenses, Expands Obstruction Of Justice

Karen Kasler

Ohio Republican lawmakers are pushing for two bills that would increase penalties for offenses that take place during demonstrations and protests. Opponents of the bills say this is an attempt to limit free speech. Statehouse correspondent Andy Chow reports.

A House bill would expand obstruction of justice charges to include failing to follow a "lawful order" from police.


Another bill would create "riot assault" and "riot vandalism" offenses, with felony charges attached.


Joe Mallory, with the Cincinnati NAACP, says there are already enough laws that handle such crimes.


"Citizens should always have the right to respectfully question and challenge actions that are excessive and abusive. Lawmakers must cease and desist attempts to strip away rights that are protected under the First Amendment of the Constitution."


Republican sponsors say these bills establish "law and order" in response to large demonstrations that resulted in the damage of property last summer.


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