WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, U.S. Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) co-sponsored the “Stop Blocking Hospitals Act,” a bill making it a federal crime to obstruct any ambulance, fire department vehicle, law enforcement vehicle, or other emergency vehicles or personnel from responding to an emergency. Penalties for such obstruction would include imprisonment of one to five years, a fine, or both.
“Like millions of Americans, I was outraged to learn last weekend that protestors in Los Angeles had blocked the entrance to the emergency room and chanted ‘we hope they die’ as first responders transported two sheriff deputies who were ambushed and shot,” said Senator Tillis. “I never would have imagined we would have to introduce legislation making it a federal penalty to block access to emergency rooms, but it must be made clear that actions like these will be punished. The Senate should quickly take up this commonsense legislation and send it to President Trump to be signed into law.”
The National Association of Police Organizations has endorsed the Stop Blocking Hospitals Act.
As unrest increases across the country, rioters are blocking first responders’ access to emergencies. Such intentional obstruction of police, fire, and ambulance vehicles and personnel have put public safety—and individual lives—at risk.
In June, in Seattle's Capitol Hill Organized Protest zone, a violent crowd prevented first responders from reaching a shooting victim, who eventually died. Though first responders were stationed less than two blocks away, twenty minutes passed before emergency personnel gained access to the site.
Less than a week ago, a gunman shot two Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies in their patrol vehicle. Those officers were taken to the hospital for medical treatment, where protestors blocked the emergency entrance to the hospital.