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Wisconsin lawmakers: Rioting should be a felony

Wisconsin State Capitol (WLUK/Don Steffens)

MADISON (AP) -- Two Republican lawmakers want to make rioting in Wisconsin a felony -- and define exactly what "rioting" is.

Rep. John Spiros and Sen. Van Wanggaard circulated three bills Wednesday that would legally define rioting and make it a felony. The proposals would also make it a misdemeanor to block roads and a felony to carry a dangerous weapon while rioting.

Rioting would be defined as an assembly of three or more people that presents a clear danger of injury or property damage.

Spiros says he has been "deeply affected" by reports of chaotic riots nationally and in Wisconsin and wants to give law enforcement officers more tools to maintain order.

Violence and protests erupted in Milwaukee last summer after a police officer fatally shot a man following a traffic stop.

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