In Oklahoma, a law to bankrupt groups that organize political protests


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/05/06/pipelines-before-people.html


#2

so freedom of speech only applies when you agree with the TGOP? Got it and noted.

Guess they only support the Constitution when they can use it to put people down.


#3

Would the same actions be exactly as illegal if there were no protest?

Because (IANAL) I can pretty much guarantee that that’s the test that courts will apply.


#4

So… if some shitbags are holding a Trump rally, and an enterprising citizen were to spraypaint a pro-Trump slogan…


#5

Did you read the text of the bill before writing the article or commenting?
To begin with, it only includes situations where there is a physical barrier designed to keep trespassers out, or clearly marked to indicate such, and is also part of the defined critical infrastructure.
Just trespassing on these facilities is a misdemeanor, with penalties of 1K or six months jail.
Willfully tampering with those facilities can get you 100K and 10 years.
An organization found to have conspired with the offender, should the offender be found guilty, can be required to pay a fine 10 times the fine of the offender.

As far as I know, legal protest does not involve trespassing or vandalizing dams or refineries. So you can organize political protests every day for the next thousand years, and this law will not affect you.
The title of this post presently reads “In Oklahoma, a law to bankrupt groups that organize political protests” it should read “In Oklahoma, a law to bankrupt groups that organize criminal acts committed during political protests” But even that is a little extreme. If Greenpeace members sneak into a facility and hang a sign, the protesters get misdemeanor charges and Greenpeace is assessed a 10K fine, which will be pretty unlikely to bankrupt them.
I am not sure why people think that vandalizing power plants or water treatment facilities should be considered a form of protected protest.


#6

I am with Max, where do folks get the idea that protesting and getting time in the public square to state your grievances is the same as rioting, damaging private property, and otherwise trespassing where it would be illegal no matter if you are protesting or not.

All this law does is finally put teeth in the existing laws you were already breaking. This is like the idiots who rioted and tried to create mayhem during the inauguration and only discovered later that they wouldn’t be charged with misdemeanors and instead felonies requiring jail time. They wailed how their rights were stomped on, but didn’t bother to realize that legitimate protest does not mean shutting down infrastructure and doing damaging property.

Not only is this a great idea for a law, but should be duplicated across the nation to stop the criminal acts that some are trying to shield as protest. All you kids “protesting”, in other words rioting, time to grow up and put on your adult pants. Do the crime: then do the time and pay the fine !!


#8

Why pussyfoot around? These people are breaking the law, so let’s give them the death penalty and be done with it! /s


#9

I was just thinking that this law makes activist groups extremely vulnerable to infiltration and false flag tactics. I doubt that they would go after their own in your scenario though.


#10

And if you attend a purportedly peaceful demonstration, and agents provocateurs show up and spray some graffiti - or even some drunk frat boys - why then you are a rioting thug who needs a million-dollar fine.

No need to even ask if this will be applied equally to the Tea Party and to BLM.


#11

Most protests shut down infrastructure (roads), amiright?


#12

They troll. Probably works for Sunoco or something.


#13

I agree, it’s dangerous because extreme behavior of a few can be used to cripple legitimate groups they are associated with.


#14

Wait, that’s what’s dangerous?

I figured it was the fallin government being the fossils’ little water boy.


#15

Laws like these are hardly about protest, and more about the Ok gov being good soldiers for the fossil fuel industry. Any type of activity that impedes development of fossil infrastructure will be criminalized. We’re just at the beginning now…


#16

I have to ask - did you read the bill?

Oh, so it’s about pipelines. It’s not just vandalism, but blocking access. Block access to a pipeline, get ten years in jail. Any group involved in organizing an event which might include civil disobedience gets roped in as well. This is very clearly an attempt to prevent any sort of “Dakota Access Pipeline” style protests. A fringe benefit is that it prevents protests at or near radio or television stations, ports, and a whole lot of other facilities that are likely to be dotted around a city and which you might accidentally be near. (I mean fucking telephone poles are explicitly listed.)

Actually, no. they specify that’s only when it’s also an above-ground pipeline or storage facility.

Neither does the bill.

Great example, though not for the reasons you think. Who was arrested? Not the small number of people who committed vandalism, but simply anyone the police could get their hands on, including reporters covering the event.

This law covers acts of non-violence civil disobedience - no one could protest any sort of pipeline, polluting company, and even seems to be written to prevent strikes at steel mills, ports and shipping centers. You’re arguing, essentially, for a police state in which protests can only occur in official designated areas (if allowed at all).

I dunno, maybe…




#17

As long as you do not hold your peaceful protest inside the fence or conspicuously marked boundary of defined critical infrastructure, you have no worries. If you are legally protesting outside of a power plant or whatever, and some faction of the protesters start breaching the walls, you should absolutely make yourself scarce. But that is already common sense.


#18

Read the bill again - this is demonstrably not true. Stand in the driveway of a facility with a sign somewhere, and you’re breaking the law.


#19

The law repeatedly mentions that the person committing the offense needs to be trespassing inside of the barriers of a facility " completely enclosed by a fence or other physical barrier that is obviously designed to exclude intruders, or if clearly marked with a sign or signs that are posted on the property that are reasonably likely to come to the attention
of intruders and indicate that entry is forbidden without site authorization"

So if you block access to the facility but do not enter it, the bill does not apply. The bill mentions pipelines, but only those with barriers as mentioned in the first paragraph above… It prefaces the list of “critical infrastructure” with the- “One of the following, if completely enclosed…”

The bill specifically mentions “b.an electrical power generating facility, substation, switching station, electrical control center or electric power lines and associated equipment infrastructure, and
n.a dam that is regulated by the state or federal government”

If you are holding a sign outside the facility, even in the road, you are not a trespasser. Part B, which does not require trespassing, also excludes the terms “impede or inhibit operations of the facility”

Roads are never mentioned, but railroad tracks are, on the condition that they are completely enclosed with a barrier or proper signage.

“If it is determined the intent of the trespasser is to willfully damage, destroy, vandalize, deface, tamper with
equipment, or impede or inhibit operations of the facility”

The law clearly and repeatedly states that trespassing must occur for the bill to take effect.


#20

Unless, of course, some counter-protester fires a starters’ gun or throws a brick through a car window, at which point the police round up and charge the protesters (missing the brick-thrower) and charge Americans United for Kittens and Puppies for a huge sum.


#21

Well let’s face it, no one lives in Oklahoma for the enlightened thought.