Rivera Schatz Defends Arrest Decree in Senate Rules
SAN JUAN – After the approval of the Senate rules late Monday evening, the chamber’s president, Thomas Rivera Schatz, defended Tuesday a regulation in that document authorizing the arrest of people who commit acts of vandalism or destruction of public property, specifically on Capitol grounds.
The new Senate president said he hopes that with the decree, “everyone participates; the hope is everyone can bear witness and the hope is everyone behaves with a sense of civility that is acceptable to everyone—for the judicial branch, the executive branch and the legislative branch.”
“Today, if a citizen witnesses a crime, you can make a citizen’s arrest, you have that faculty today. So that’s nothing new,” Rivera Schatz said in an aside with reporters when asked about the reasons for the power to arrest people at the Capitol. The senatorial leader participated Tuesday in the public hearing of four cabinet nominees, who are expected to be confirmed Thursday.
Initially, Senate regulations, which are approved every time a new Legislative Assembly begins, stipulate that if disorder arises in the session chamber while the Senate is meeting, the president may order the suspension of the session or decree a recess to take action on the matter.
The now text says the president may order an immediate evacuation, as well as the arrest of those engaging in violent behavior, consisting of threats, shouting, insults, aggression, vandalism or property damage.