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Illinois State Representative Proposes Law Banning Posting Videos of Fights

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Lawmakers across the country have been attempting for years to stop the growing and pernicious trend of cyberbullying. A local Illinois lawmaker has developed a new approach to this issue after a video surfaced of a Murphysboro boy being beat Murphysboroen while onlookers simply filmed the incident.

The video in question was one showing a 12-year-old boy on the ground as another attempted to stomp on him, while a cluster of bystanders circled the pair, recording the altercation on their phones. The fight occurred in an alley outside of a Murphysboro middle school in January of this year, with a video posted on Facebook shortly thereafter. “I wish someone would have stepped in,” said Tiffany Thomas, the mother of the boy seen on the ground in the video.

Neither boy received serious injuries in the fight, but the video nevertheless troubled Representative Terri Bryant, a Republican Illinois General Assembly member from Mount Vernon. Rep. Bryant has now introduced House Bill 4419, which would enable law enforcement to charge someone with a misdemeanor offense of disorderly conduct to film a fight and upload it to social media, or to withhold a fight video from law enforcement. The bill would only impose criminal penalties where the video was uploaded with the intent to promote or condone the depicted violence. While Illinois, like all other US states, has criminalized cyberbullying, this new law would be unrelated. Rep. Bryant explained that sharing fights online serves to devalue the individuals those videos depict, simply “for a few minutes of fame at someone else’s expense.”

If your child has been injured as a result of cyberbullying in Illinois, contact the experienced and compassionate Chicago-area personal injury attorneys at Johnson, Westra, Broecker, Whittaker & Newitt, P.C. for a consultation on your case, at 630-665-9600.

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