Florida’s Republican Governor has signed a new “anti-riot” bill into law, and the Democrats are losing their minds over it.
The Senate passed the bill 23-17 on Thursday in a vote largely along party lines; on March 26, the bill passed the House 76-39.
The bill permits citizens to sue a local government if that government does not stop a riot and “defines ‘riot’ as a violent public disturbance involving 3 or more people acting with common intent resulting in injury to others, damage to property, or the imminent danger of injury or damage,” WFLA reports.
The bill also “creates a new second-degree felony called an ‘aggravated riot,’ which occurs when the riot has more than 25 participants, causes great bodily harm or more than $5,000 in property damage, uses or threatens to use a deadly weapon, or blocks roadways by force or threat of force.”
DeSantis stated, “This legislation strikes the appropriate balance of safeguarding every Floridian’s constitutional right to peacefully assemble while ensuring that those who hide behind peaceful protest to cause violence in our communities will be punished. Further, this legislation ensures that no community in the state engages in defunding of their police.”
The bill further prohibits “specified assemblies from using or threatening to use imminent force against another person to do or refrain from doing any act or to assume, abandon, or maintain a particular viewpoint under certain circumstances; (require) a minimum term of imprisonment for a person convicted of battery on a law enforcement officer committed in furtherance of a riot or an aggravated riot.”
It also prohibits, “defacing, injuring, or damaging a memorial or historic property; providing a penalty; requiring a court to order restitution for such a violation … (reclassify) specified burglary offenses committed during a riot or an aggravated riot and facilitated by conditions arising from the riot … (require) a person arrested for such a violation to be held in custody until first appearance … (prohibit) cyberintimidation by publication; providing criminal penalties; (prohibit) a person from inciting a riot (while) providing an increased penalty for inciting a riot under specified circumstances.”
The Orlando Sentinel Reported, “The parts of the bill (HB 1 ) that most upset Democrats grant civil legal immunity to people who drive through protesters blocking a road; prevent people arrested for rioting or offenses committed during a riot from bailing out of jail until their first court appearance; and impose a six-month mandatory sentence for battery on a police officer during a riot.”
Black Voters Matter co-founder and executive director Cliff Albright complained that the law was a reaction to America’s youth expressing their feelings after the death of George Floyd, arguing, “And in response to that, for the state to say, we’re going to criminalize your activity. We’re going to criminalize your passion. We’re going to criminalize your protest. That’s not what democracy looks like.”
DeSantis, meanwhile, said that the law demonstrates a significant contrast between the way blue areas and red areas address these issues of unrest as Democrat-run cities experience yet another bout of riots in the streets.
“The more blue an area is, the worse it’s governed. I mean it’s just a disaster what we’ve seen. It’s always been the case kind of in my lifetime, but I think in the last year, it’s been exacerbated between COVID lockdowns and the rioting,” DeSantis told Breitbart News, explaining that blue area leaders have “totally dropped the ball.”
“If you don’t stand up for law enforcement, you are going to have more crimes,” he said, noting that, in some cases, law enforcement in those blue jurisdictions have had to recede, resulting in higher crime in the areas.
More specifically, DeSantis said the bill effectively draws a line in the sand regarding defunding law enforcement — something demanded by members of the radical left, such as Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), who recently called for the end of both policing and incarceration.
“Obviously, I’m the governor of the state, but we have local jurisdictions, too, that can do different things, but we drew a line in the sand and said we’re not going to let you defund law enforcement. And so if they want to take money from law enforcement, I as governor and some of my Cabinet members here or there, we can veto that and make them restore the funding,” he explained.
“So that, I think that takes the defunding law enforcement off the table in Florida, which is huge.”
In addition, the bill, he explained, creates “much stronger” penalties for rioters and those who engage in lawless acts.
“For example, if you throw a brick, if you’re in one of these violent assemblies, you throw a brick at a police officer, you’re getting arrested, you’re going to jail, and you’re staying there until your first appearance,” the governor said.
“We’re not just going to turn you back out on the street, and then the penalties overall are stiffer,” he added, calling it a “very comprehensive piece of legislation” and reaffirming the Sunshine State’s commitment to law and order.
Author: Jameson Cypher