British Riot Act of 1715

At the request of King George, a BRITISH RIOT ACT was passed July 20,1715 to control riots in the Homeland and the Colonies. If 12 our more people were disturbing the peace or in an unlawful assembly a Magistrate could “READ THE RIOT ACT” giving them a period of time to disperse (usually 15-minutes or 1-hour depending on the jurisdiction) or be arrested. The penalty for not dispersing could be death.

There was no due process under the British Riot Act and Magistrates had powerful discretion for punishments.

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