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
1 year 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. a slozomby

    or the right of the people peaceably to assemble,....

    May 11, 2013 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  2. PuzzledInPeoria

    Pass a Concealed Carry law, you mopes!

    May 11, 2013 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  3. splassher6

    Obama supports in his home state...how nice

    May 11, 2013 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  4. amontagno

    What a waste of time and money. Why not use current laws to arrest flash mob activity that is illegal – physical violence, trespassing, stalking, etc. Instead of wasting the tax payer's money on this garbage, why not push the money into something that helps the citizens of Illinois? I'm sure the money can be better spent supporting teachers, senior citizens, police and fireman, instead of some useless law for flash mobs.

    May 11, 2013 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  5. Jack Hollis

    It's about time somebody does something about it before the red necks start serving up doses of red neck medicine. The Ill legislature better walk softly on this though. Just remember these are all democrat voters, either present or future.

    May 11, 2013 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  6. regenesis0

    This doesn't sound like a Flash Mob problem, it sounds like a gang problem. Giving legislation with such a broad reach is virtually guaranteed to be misused to clamp down on unpopular speech.

    May 11, 2013 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  7. Rick Springfield

    Today's flash mob is tomorrow's call of the miniutemen/women for the next civil war. Sure a "random" harlem shake gathering may seem harmless. But gangs have gone along to settle feuds, do gangland hits, and establish neighborhood domain and dominance. I enjoy the animosity toward the movement you see in the media. I think its time has come. Sending the ring leaders to prison where they can have a true flash mob experience is the cure to this disease.

    May 11, 2013 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  8. Rick Springfield

    this is just a test

    May 11, 2013 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  9. Smarg

    Good luck with this, Illinois. Once you try to enforce this the Obama voters will yell racism. Fatherless welfare garbage.

    May 11, 2013 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  10. noteasilyswayed

    In the not so distant future we will see huge demonstrations organized through social media..... because our politicians are not interested in helping the majority of Americans. It's only a matter of time.

    May 11, 2013 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  11. Esteban Herrera

    Leave it to Chicago to take an already stupid idea and incorporate crime into it.

    May 11, 2013 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  12. Justin Cauley

    Crime is down because the Winter was colder and longer than last year. Historically, crime and warm temperatures are correlated.

    May 11, 2013 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  13. Charlie Johnson

    If flash mobs retaliate by voting "present" then there is nothing the Illinois legislature can do.

    May 11, 2013 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  14. are122

    Illinois has become the epitome of "Rust Belt" high crime, high taxed down the tubes State. I doubt it will do anything to recover in the next hundred or so years.

    May 11, 2013 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  15. Rick McDaniel

    Sounds like they have a criminal problem. Oh yeah......Chicago........of course they do!

    May 11, 2013 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  16. Opinion...

    If Chicago doesn't wake up it risks turning into Detroit.

    May 11, 2013 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  17. kg

    As an Illinois resident I cannot believe our Legislature is wasting its time on laws like this while the state slides into an economic abyss. How about focusing on reforming state pensions, eliminating corruption, balancing the budget, etc.?

    May 11, 2013 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  18. Spgfld Tom

    You can always count on the Illinois General Assembly to be on the cutting edge of crime fighting! There is nothing a Chicago politicians loves more than banning something. I wonder what ever happend to the ban on the sale of lion meat?

    May 11, 2013 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  19. S.A. Wolf

    Flash mob violence? It's what the shot was invented for.

    May 11, 2013 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  20. just askin

    don't these people have anything better to do with their time? i wonder how many of them are collecting government assistance?

    May 11, 2013 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  21. What a Crock

    The main reason the murder rate is going down is they're running out of people to shoot!

    May 11, 2013 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  22. Star goat

    Once we have concealed carry in Illinois, this wont actually matter. A dozen hoods on the el? Shoot two or three and the rest will flee.

    Of course, the Chicago politicians are terrified of the idea of a populace that isn't getting killed by thugs with baseball bats on Deamon St. Stupid. If we can defend ourselves, what do we need them for?

    May 11, 2013 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  23. Dave The Butcher

    Yep, there's a difference between the people that show up and dance, and the low-life thugs that show up to steal from shops.

    May 11, 2013 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  24. Zoglet

    Banning assembly huh?
    What happens when people need to assemble to overthrow the government?
    State and government officials are legislating to make resistance impossible.

    May 11, 2013 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  25. Galactus93

    In Illinois we only know how to raise taxes and make more rules that will never get enforced. Look at how well we enforce the rules on illegal immigration.

    May 11, 2013 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
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