People caught rioting during large protests could be stripped of their federal unemployment benefits and be forced to pay an order of restitution to police under a new bill proposed by a Republican Congressman.
Jim Banks, who represents Indiana's 3rd congressional district, introduced the 'Support Peaceful Protest Act' on Friday, with the aim of stopping the riots, looting and vandalism that have occurred across the country in recent months.
The bill will have to pass the U.S. House and Senate before it becomes written into law, but Banks says he hopes it will protect peaceful protesters and police officers, as well as bystanders who inadvertently become caught up in a crowd.
The bill proposes that if an individual is convicted of a federal offense while at a protest in which police are present, they will have to 'pay an order of restitution... that is equal to the cost of such policing activity, as determined by the court.'
Further, Banks proposes that those engaging in rioting, looting and arson should be stripped of federal benefits accessible during the COVID-19 crisis, such as the $600 per week unemployment assistance drawn from the CARES Act.
In an interview with WIBC, Banks says he believes a majority of rioters who intentionally disrupt protests are currently unemployed and receiving benefits.
'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,' Banks stated.
He continued: ''Many of these people are not working. They have the time to show up every day at some of these violent protests like in Washington, D.C. and they're getting $600 a week of unemployment to do it, and that's got to stop.'
Banks was referring to chaotic scenes that unfolded in Washington, D.C. on Thursday night, following the conclusion of the Republican National Convention at the White House.
Guests, including Senator Rand Paul, were heckled and abused as they made their way out of the event.
The Senator and his wife had to be protected by police officers, and he later claimed the 'crazed mob' was 'shouting threats to kill us'.
Meanwhile, photographers captured two of Banks' constituents - an elderly couple from Indiana - being verbally abused and intimidated by a young protester as they left the event.
The photograph caused outrage, with Banks sharing the image and tweeting to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, accusing her of not doing enough to stop bad behavior.
'Hey @SpeakerPelosi, these are my constituent. They are good people. If you told these mobs to stop, I have a feeling they would... '
Meanwhile, Banks theorized that Antifa was behind a lot of the rioting.
'Antifa thugs are descending on suffering communities, disrupting peaceful protests and leaving violence, looting and vandalism in their wake,' he stated.
'They turned Milwaukee, Seattle and Portland into war zones, and now they’re moving the chaos to Kenosha, Wisconsin. Who knows which community is next?'
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