Senate urges police to recognize white nationalists, neo-Nazi groups as terrorist groups
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WICS) —
Illinoisans are speaking out against the deadly demonstrations in Virginia.
The Senate passed a resolution Sunday in response to the racially-motivated violence.
"Let's call this what this is: Domestic terrorism," Sen. Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, said on the Senate floor Sunday.
The resolution urges law enforcement to consider white nationalists and neo-Nazi groups as terrorist organizations.
"If we can't repudiate them here at home, I don't know what business we have representing the people in our districts," Harmon said.
Gov. Bruce Rauner, R-Illinois, responded to the Charlottesville protests Monday.
"There is no place in American society and in American political discourse for racism, for hatred or violence, period -- end of story," Rauner said. "All of us as Americans should speak out and stand against that kind of behavior and that kind of rhetoric."
Under the First Amendment, people have the right to peacefully assemble. They also have the freedom of speech.
That means protesters that follow the law have the right to legally demonstrate.
"Just saying those hateful things does not, per say, make it a criminal offense," said Daniel Noll, an attorney at Noll Law Firm. "However, if they do cross the line in terms of physical violence or property destruction, things like that, it may fall under various legal statutes that they can be prosecuted under."
Noll said the Senate's resolution is equivalent to a strong recommendation.
"Law enforcement can address it how they see fit and practical," Noll said.