Flash mobs beware! Legislators address violent incidents
This "Gangnam Style" performance wasn't what Illinois lawmakers had in mind when crafting flash mob legislation.
May 11th, 2013
04:34 PM ET
11 months ago

Flash mobs beware! Legislators address violent incidents

(CNN) - Illinois legislators weren’t thinking about harmless flash mobs, like countless renditions of the Harlem Shake or over-the-top marriage proposals, when crafting new legislation recently.

A bill which passed the state assembly on Friday and the state Senate earlier would allow judges to "impose an extended term sentence" when new-age “mob action” involves "electronic communication."

Democratic state Rep. Christian Mitchell, sponsor of the legislation, said he expects it to act as a deterrent to those considering participating in a flash mob attack like several along Chicago’s prestigious and bustling Magnificent Mile, a popular downtown shopping area.

“The old corporate gang structure as we knew it is gone,” he told CNN. “In many cases you’re seeing Twitter, Facebook and other social media being used to organize.”

He said the law is an important step but allowed it “is addressing a symptom of a larger problem” which requires improving family and school life for young people.

Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn has not said if he will sign the legislation into law.

Recent Magnificent Mile incidents dubbed as flash mobs include one which landed more than two dozen juveniles in jail on allegations they started fights, snatched purses and blocked traffic on a Saturday afternoon in April. In another incident, Mitchell said several teens were suspected of having tracked a young woman whose photo had spread on Twitter, then shot her in the leg.

Overall, authorities say crime is down in the city. The police department said crime in the first three months of this year was down 8% from the first quarter of 2012, and the murder rate in March was down 69% from the same month last year.


Filed under: Illinois
soundoff (47 Responses)
  1. buongiorno

    this ensures that the internet is a haven used to organize or instigate high levels of organized aggresive global internet gatherinis

    May 11, 2013 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  2. Steve

    Hey look, poorly thought out, knee-jerk reactionary legislation! If they just include minimum sentencing guidelines and cite scientifically unsupportable reasoning (such as "tougher sentences are a deterrent"), they can hit the political incompetence trifecta.

    May 11, 2013 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  3. robert

    No mention of the race of the people involved in the violent mobs?

    May 11, 2013 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  4. alientech

    Typical IL solution, make another law and that will fix it. These mobs aren't just any teens but thugs from inner city . Where is Jesse Jackson and that other loudmouth from NY? Nowhere to be found, of course.

    May 11, 2013 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  5. OCCUPY WALLSTREET FOREVER

    I'm saddened to learn these flash mobs aren't the ones who strip in public places.

    May 11, 2013 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  6. eric

    welll I would hope the murder rate would be down...last year was a freakin blood bath in chicago

    May 11, 2013 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  7. QueenVelveetaJamimaLaqueetaTelmaColenderDaKeeshaaLaPorsha

    Ho doos wees getz a newb teebee widout a mob dat be steelin dem?

    May 12, 2013 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  8. Angryoldwhiteman

    You cannot carry a handgun in Chicago, therefore everyone is a target for these hoods, except the hoods themselves who have no respect for the law and carry weapons ant way. Where were the police? Right! They can't be everywhere, so if you are a target you are SOL. Move to a state who respects your right to protect yourself.

    May 12, 2013 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  9. sam

    I don't even bother going to the city much anymore, I was once downtown by the beach and I saw a whole bunch of black people who I knew didn't belong there, must have been 50+ blacks, I took a taxi back to my car and went home. If I ever see a large group like that again I'll just head home right away everytime. Not worth it to get robbed and be annoyed by their loudness.

    May 12, 2013 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  10. Curtis

    Kansas City has this problem as well on the streets of the historic Country Club Plaza. The KCMO govt has tried to take steps to curb the flash mobs by increasing the city's curfew for teenagers. However, there are groups claiming the move is 'racist' since the majority of the youths in these flash mobs are black... The KCMO mayor, who is also black, called them out on their nonsense.

    May 12, 2013 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  11. Jiggy Pepper

    I hope people are careful with this law. If there is mob action authorities don't like (versus mob action that actually harms the greater good) that could be used to clamp down on dissent!

    May 12, 2013 01:37 am at 1:37 am |
  12. george milton

    The top 20% control 93% of the money – by 2015 it will be 94% and within two decades it will be 97%

    The other 80% will have 3% and there will be a lot more than flash mobs to contend with. Things are going to get a lot more dangerous very quickly now that the fabulously wealthy have reached critical mass (a function of compound interest combined with corruption and fast tracking career nepotism) if the dismantling of the middle class is not reversed in a real serious hurry we are facing the end of the world as we know it.

    It wont matter how big the numbers in your bank account are if you can't pick up a loaf of bread without getting kidnapped.

    May 12, 2013 01:53 am at 1:53 am |
  13. Won

    This is pathetic. Corporate congress needs to go.

    May 12, 2013 01:54 am at 1:54 am |
  14. co-man-senz

    Typical punks using something fun and perverting it.

    May 12, 2013 04:39 am at 4:39 am |
  15. Michael S.

    Just say that the legislators in Illinois were not thinking and let it go at that. This is not the new face of organized crime and to use such a limp and lame justification is just plain pathetic. Technophobes in politics are never good for society or for the civil rights of the people they target.

    May 12, 2013 07:01 am at 7:01 am |
  16. don in albuquerque

    As you said about the "Occupy Movement"..........Ahhhh too bad. More and more civil liberties down the tube.

    May 12, 2013 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  17. Nadine

    Oh well "land of the somewhat free". I somehow see racial undertones in this piece of legislation. Strange coming from a democrat.

    May 12, 2013 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  18. Steve

    How is it possible to enforce this legislation?

    May 12, 2013 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  19. Flashmobs

    Or... Flashmobs just go away. Seriously, how much longer are people going to keep doing this and thinking it's impressive?

    May 12, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  20. m. hashem

    Murder rate in Chicago is defined by temperature "To put some of these numbers into better perspective, consider Chicago, Ill. For March 2012, the highest temperature the city had was an astounding 87 degrees. This March, the highest temperature was a meager 59 degrees. The March 2012 temperature average for Chicago was 53.5 degrees, or 15.6 degrees above normal. This year, the average temperature was only 32.6 degrees, or 5.3 degrees below normal."
    Weather heats up – murders up.

    May 12, 2013 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  21. Resvit

    Oh...that's right...you're all readers of the liberal mainstream media so you're blind and unaware that there have been over 500 attacks by black mobs against mostly whites since Obama has become president. Yeah, see, apparently the media has been hiding these stories because they don't want you to know the truth lest you decide owing guns is a good thing afterall. Your precious liberal media goes to extremes to play up the rare white on black crime with daily frontpage exclusives and questionable editing of the facts, pretty much insinuating that white on black crime is reaching epidemic proportions, while at the same time completely ignoring the large and growing number of black on white crimes. Recently the two main liberal mainstream media sources ran on their front pages a story of a black California teen finding a noose hanging at a gym but then they completely ignored the story of the white teen out jogging in SC who was chased down by a black group and kicked and punched into a coma, both stories occurred within the same week. The leftyliberal media has been hiding all of the mob attacks, from Peoria to Madison and from Chicago to New Jersey and most people have no clue it's been happening.

    May 12, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  22. dc

    Here's hoping it works out better than all the gun control legislation that was supposed to fix the violence in Chicago....

    May 12, 2013 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
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