Politics

Pro-Hamas Protesters Could be Prosecuted Under KKK Law

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost sent a letter to presidents of local universities Monday, warning that masked students who join pro-Hamas protests could be prosecuted under a law crafted to fight the Ku Klux Klan (KKK).

As Breitbart News noted recently, there are federal anti-KKK statutes that prohibit masked demonstrators from protesting on other people’s property with the intent of threatening citizens out of exercising their civil rights.

There are similar state laws, such as a 1953 Ohio law that “makes it a fourth-degree felony for two or more people to commit any crime together ‘while wearing white caps, masks, or other disguise,” a Columbus NBC affiliate reported.

Yost’s letter says, in part (original emphasis):

Ohio Revised Code 3761.12 makes it a felony to commit a crime–even a misdemeanor, such as trespass–with two or more other people while wearing masks. The statute in full reads:

“No person shall unite with two or more others to commit a misdemeanor while wearing white caps, masks, or other disguise.”

A violation of this “anti-disguise™ law is a fourth-degree felony punishable by between six and 18 months of imprisonment. Those guilty may also pay up to $5,000 in fines and spend up to five years on community control. (See Ohio Revised Code 3761.99.) This punishment is significantly greater than misdemeanors that typically follow minor infractions that accompany student protests.

I do not wish to see anyone’s First Amendment rights abridged, nor see anyone surprised that they violated the law.

The First Amendment is a shield against the government, not a sword against fellow students.

In the first place, students should protest within the boundsof the law, and not commit crimes. In the second place, they should own their advocacy and avoid wearing masks.

Yost urged educators to make students aware of the law and penalties.

Pro-Hamas “encampments” have appeared on dozens of campuses throughout the country, using antisemitic rhetoric

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, “The Zionist Conspiracy (and how to join it),” now available on Audible. He is also the author of the e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.



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