GOP lawmaker targets protesters obstructing traffic

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – An Indiana lawmaker wants police to use any means necessary to stop protesters from blocking traffic.

However, critics say the proposal raises serious constitutional questions and could impinge on First Amendment rights.

Republican state Sen. Jim Tomes of Wadesville says protesters blocking off streets not only are a nuisance, but such demonstrations also could prove fatal if they prevent or delay first responders from reaching an emergency.

A bill he proposed would give authorities 15 minutes to dispatch as many police officers as needed to break up a group of 10 or more people blocking a road. Police would be required to “use any means necessary” to end a blockade.

Tomes says he was inspired to propose the bill after watching disturbing newscasts of protests around the country.

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