Politics

Oklahoma Bill Would Specially Target Hispanic Gang Members

From HB 3133, introduced Tuesday by Oklahoma state Rep. Justin Humphrey:

Any person who:
1. Is of Hispanic descent living within the state of Oklahoma;
2. Is a member of a criminal street gang as such term is defined in subsection F of Section 856 of Title 21 of the Oklahoma Statutes; and
3. Has been convicted of a gang-related offense enumerated in paragraphs one (1) through sixteen (16) of subsection F of Section 856 of Title 21 of the Oklahoma Statutes, shall be deemed to have committed an act of terrorism as such term is defined in Section 1268.1 of Title 21 of the Oklahoma Statutes.

Any and all property, including real estate and personal property, conveyances, including aircraft, vehicles or vessels, monies, coins and currency, or other instrumentality used or intended to be used, in any manner or part, by said person shall be subject to forfeiture as provided in Section 1738 of Title 21 of the Oklahoma Statutes.

Though I don’t think it’s particularly helpful to conflate “criminal street gang” membership (bad as it is) with terrorism, a state may indeed do so, and may authorize forfeiture of instruments of crime as well (subject to the usual procedural constraints applicable to forfeiture). But a state certainly may not set up different rules for criminal street gangs run by Hispanics, by whites, by blacks, by Asians, or by any other ethnic or racial group.

Rep. Humphrey has apologized, and said he would change the language to “undocumented illegals.” But it’s hard to see the explicit ethnic classification in the original bill as just an innocent mistake.

The post Oklahoma Bill Would Specially Target Hispanic Gang Members appeared first on Reason.com.