Today, Congressman Michael Guest (MS-03) introduced legislation to condemn the violence that took place during and after the otherwise peaceful protests following the tragic death of George Floyd as a result of excessive force from law enforcement officers. The House Resolution includes the following provisions:
- strongly condemns the violence, riots, and looting in the United States;
- recognizes that violent opportunists use the cover of legitimate protests by their fellow citizens to sow chaos;
- recognizes that the actions of those bent on violence does not diminish the rights of other Americans to peacefully protest; and
- expresses that those responsible for these violent acts be held criminally responsible for their actions.
Congressman Guest released the following statement after the resolution was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.
“Peaceful protests have been a catalyst for change in the history of our nation, and the United States Congress should uphold this fundamental right guaranteed by the First Amendment of our Constitution,” Guest said. “However, violent extremists have used the peaceful protests as an opportunity to spread chaos and to commit illegal activities, including looting, arson, and the tragic taking of innocent lives. Congress must take a firm stance in condemning these actions and reconfirm our commitment to uphold the rule of law and protect the rights of American citizens from acts of destruction and violence. We cannot stand by while violent extremists harm innocent people, small businesses, homes, religious institutions, and government agencies in their pursuit to commit unlawful acts. We hope that members of both parties will join us in condemning these violent and unlawful acts.”
The First Amendment of the Constitution guarantees the right to peacefully assemble and to petition the government for change, but the instances of violence arising out of the protests is not protected by the Constitution and violates laws instituted by local, state, and federal governments.
Congressman Michael Guest represents Mississippi’s Third Congressional District. He serves on the House Committee on Homeland Security, the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and the House Committee on Ethics.