The Crime of “Riot”

Last Saturday, April 12, WMU students allegedly participated in a riot on Lafayette Avenue in Kalamazoo.  This is not the first time a “riot” has happened in Kalamazoo.  Sometimes, students and citizens get swept up in the criminal justice system under these circumstances, even when they were not technically involved, or when the incident itself is not technically a “riot”.
According to Michigan law, a riot occurs when five or more people, acting in concert, engage in violent conduct and cause (whether recklessly or intentionally) or create a serious risk of causing public terror or alarm.
Anyone that is charged with rioting faces a felony, punishable by not more than 10 years in prison or a fine of not more than $10,000.00 or both.
In 2001, the Michigan Court of Appeals decided a riot case.  The incident was a rally turned riot.  Protestors of a KKK rally began charging and throwing asphalt rocks at police officers and at City Hall.
The circuit court granted defendants’ motions to quash (dismiss) on the basis that the prosecutor did not provide ample evidence to demonstrate that the defendants’ conduct caused or created a serious risk of public terror or alarm.   The Court of Appeals reinstated the charges because the defendants’ conduct amounted to at least a “conscious disregard” that their conduct would create a serious risk of causing the public to be alarmed.  The Court provided explanation as to what amounts to “causing public terror or alarm” – that is:  any time a segment of the public is put in fear of injury either to their persons or their property.
If you are looking at being charged under the rioting statute, contact Hills Law Office today.


Contact The Firm: 269.373.5430