The new plan will have to been heard by three different committees before they can be passed into law.
CLEVELAND - Cleveland City Council introduced three ordinances that would make it a criminal offense to instigate a flash mob that would incite riots.
Flash mobs, which gather people together using Facebook, Twitter or text messaging, originally involved a group singing or dancing unexpectedly in public. But some people have taken it too far and incited violence.
"We are working to stop criminal flash mobs by focusing on the people who organize these disruptive 'new tech' mobs," said Ward 2 Councilman Zack Reed. "When the purpose of an individual's speech advocates criminal actions, it can be subject to limitations by our laws. These ordinances help to clarify and update our existing laws."
This summer, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson vetoed a measure that would have made it a crime to use social media to start a flash mob crowd. The American Civil Liberties Union warned that the proposal would be unconstitutional.
"The approach we are now taking does not find fault in the use of social media to express an opinion, but rather considers the organizer's words as proof of criminal intent. We are focusing on individuals who use modern technology to cause criminal rioting,” said Ward 8 Councilman Jeff Johnson.
In August, Cleveland rapper Machine Gun Kelly used Twitter to start a flash mob at SouthPark Mall in Strongsville. The 21-year-old rapper, whose real name is Richard Baker, was cited for disturbing the peace.
The new plan will have to been heard by three different committees before they can be passed into law. The following make-up the three components to the proposed law:
-Inciting to riot: No person shall knowingly engage in conduct designed to incite another to commit a riot. This supplement ordinance targets the individual(s) who organize a riot and would be a misdemeanor of the first degree
-Riot: No person shall participate with four or more others in a course of disorderly conduct in violation of Section 605.03, including but not limited to a community event, place of business, or any City of Cleveland property, facility, or recreation area. This amending ordinance focuses on the individuals participating in a riot and would be a misdemeanor of the first degree.
-Criminal tool: This ordinance includes "electronic media device" as part of the listing of criminal tools under section 625.08 of the Codified Ordinances of Cleveland. This amending ordinance would be a misdemeanor of the first degree.