As you know, Oklahoma has made some bi-partisan progress in criminal justice reform over the past few years. Thanks to state questions that were passed by Oklahoma voters, scores of non-violent offenders – most of whom were in prison for simple drug possession crimes – have been set free, helping to slowly right one of the many wrongs of Oklahoma’s draconian criminal justice system.
Naturally, with the citizen-led criminal justice reform movement making positive changes for our still over-incarcerated state, Oklahoma lawmakers from the Derplahoman Caucus are now looking for new and improved ways to harass and target Oklahoma citizens!
Earlier this month, the Oklahoma House Judiciary Committee advanced HB 3359 – a piece of legislation that was introduced by State Rep David Smith – on a 10 – 6 vote.
Dubbed the Police State Enforcement Act (by us), it will give “Peace Officers” the power to stop and harass any person that they “reasonably” think has committed or will commit a crime, and then command the individual – who will likely be a minority – to provide their name, identification, and explanation of what they’re doing, even if they’re obeying the law and not committing a crime. If the person does not follow those commands, police can detain them. What a great idea, huh?
Here’s the text of the bill:
That’s nice! I guess it’s a good thing that Oklahoma’s criminal justice system isn’t drenched in institutionalized racism, otherwise some bad actors – like your local Oklahoma sheriff, Nazi police chief or rapist patrol cop – could abuse this insane, unchecked power to target certain groups of law-abiding citizens for whatever reason they want.
For some reason, giving “peace officers” the ability to become fortune tellers, and detain any person they think may be thinking about committing a crime has triggered the civil liberties freaks on both the left and right. I’m not sure why. You don’t have to watch the news every night to know that cops always do the right thing, and can always be trusted to make the right decisions and not abuse their power – especially in Oklahoma.
Anyway, I guess we’ll follow this bill and provide updates as they become available. In the meantime, I’d suggest everyone start practicing ways not to look like you’re about to commit a crime. You definitely don’t want to end up on one of Oklahoma’s over-crowded prisons.
Update: Good news! According to Fox 25, it looks like this terrible bill has been squashed. I guess they’ll have to think of some back channel way to sneak it through.