U.S. Rep. Ken Buck has introduced a bill to double the maximum penalty for federal rioting offenses from five years to 10 years in prison, following a physical clash of protesters in the nation’s capital last weekend.
“Riots in our cities. Violence on our streets. This kind of lawlessness must end,” wrote Buck on Twitter earlier this week. The Federalist reported on Tuesday that Buck, who is also the chair of the Colorado Republican Party, blamed “an unprecedented amount of violence from riots organized by Antifa and other radical leftist groups” as the motivation for the bill. (Antifa is an abbreviation for anti-fascist ideology.)
During Saturday and Sunday, police arrested more than 20 people in Washington, D.C. during a sometimes-violent interaction between supporters of President Donald Trump, including the Proud Boys, and counter-protesters. District Police Chief Peter Newsham said individuals from both sides were “intent on clashing.” One person was stabbed in the altercation. Unidentified individuals also vandalized a display at Black Lives Matter Plaza featuring posters condemning racism and denouncing Trump.
Under federal law, people who travel between states to incite, encourage or participate in a riot are subject to a fine or up to five years of imprisonment.
Buck’s Blocking Rioters and Insurrectionists from Our Cities to Keep Us Safe (BRICKS) Act would also increase the maximum prison sentence to 25 years for use of a weapon, and to life if the rioting involves kidnapping, sexual abuse or attempts to kill.