Indiana congressman’s bill would make violent protesters ineligible for federal unemployment aid

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A protester carries a U.S. flag upside down, a sign of distress, next to a burning building, in Minneapolis during protests over the death of George Floyd. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)

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WASHINGTON – (WXIN) – An Indiana congressman’s proposed bill would punish violent protesters by prohibiting them from receiving federal unemployment assistance.

The proposal from Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., would also order individuals to pay restitution to a law enforcement agency that responded to the disturbance they caused and cover the costs of federal policing of demonstrations.

Rep. Jim Banks
Rep. Jim Banks

Banks said it’s designed to crack down on violence and looting. He introduced the “Support Peaceful Protest Act” on Friday; the measure seeks to impose sanctions on individuals convicted of federal offenses during a protest.

From the bill:

In the case of an individual convicted of a Federal offense related to the individual’s conduct at and during the course of a protest with respect to which a Federal law enforcement officer was engaged in policing activity, the court shall, in addition to the penalty for such conviction, order the individual to pay an order of restitution to the appropriate Federal law enforcement agency in an amount that is equal to the cost of such policing activity, as determined by the court.

In a statement about the legislation, Banks accused “jobless rioters” of destroying communities and said the measure would make them feel the “full financial consequences” of their actions:

Antifa thugs are descending on suffering communities, disrupting peaceful protests and leaving violence, looting and vandalism in their wake. They turned Milwaukee, Seattle and Portland into warzones, and now they’re moving the chaos to Kenosha, Wisconsin. Who knows which community is next? Due to enhanced federal benefits, taxpayers are giving wages to jobless rioters that are destroying our communities. We need to cut them off from their funding and make them feel the full financial consequences of their actions.

Rep. Jim Banks

President Donald Trump and his supporters have tried to paint liberals as lawless during the 2020 campaign cycle, but several people involved in violent altercations this summer have espoused right-wing beliefs.

You can find the bill here.

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