OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — An Oklahoma civil rights group has filed a federal lawsuit claiming a new anti-protest bill approved by lawmakers this year is unconstitutional.
The Oklahoma chapter of the NAACP filed the lawsuit Monday in federal court in Oklahoma City, along with the national NAACP and the Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection at Georgetown University Law Center.
The lawsuit argues the law was written to discourage peaceful demonstrations and violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
The law takes effect Nov. 1 and, among other things, grants motorists civil and criminal immunity if they kill or injure someone while fleeing from a riot.
According to the Associated Press, penalties would increase under the new law for those who block roadways.
The AP reported that national organizations coordinating with those found guilty of committing crimes under the state's rioting statutes would face hefty fines.
The lawmaker who authored the bill, Rep. Kevin West, said the bill wouldn't target peaceful protests but those who riot, the AP reported.
According to the AP, the bill comes following an incident last summer in Tulsa where a pickup truck drove through a crowd protesting the death of George Floyd while gathered on an interstate.
The AP reported that several people were injured, including a person who fell from an overpass and ended up paralyzed from the waist down.
The driver of the truck was not charged, the AP reported.