Gov. DeSantis Signs Florida’s ‘Anti-Riot’ Bill Into Law
DeSantis signed the so-called “anti-riot” bill during a news conference in Polk County. The legislation has been spearheaded by DeSantis since last summer’s Black Lives Matter protests.
The Combatting Violence, Disorder and Looting, and Law Enforcement Protection Act have three components, outlined below:
New Criminal Offenses to Combat Rioting, Looting, and Violence
Prohibition on Violent or Disorderly Assemblies:
3rd-degree felony when 7 or more persons are involved in an assembly and cause damage to property or injury to other persons.
Prohibition on Obstructing Roadways:
3rd-degree felony to obstruct traffic during an unpermitted protest, demonstration, or violent or disorderly assembly; driver is NOT liable for injury or death caused if fleeing for safety from a mob.
Prohibition on Destroying or Toppling Monuments:
2nd-degree felony to destroy public property during a violent or disorderly assembly.
Prohibition on Harassment in Public Accommodations:
1st-degree misdemeanor for a participant in a violent or disorderly assembly to harass or intimidate a person at a public accommodation, such as a restaurant.
RICO Liability: RICO liability attaches to anyone who organizes or funds a violent or disorderly assembly.
Mandatory Minimum Jail Sentence:
Striking a law enforcement officer (including with a projectile) during a violent or disorderly assembly = 6 months mandatory minimum jail sentence.
Offense and/or sentence enhancements for (1) throwing an object during a violent or disorderly assembly that strikes a civilian or law enforcement officer; (2) assault/battery of a law enforcement officer during a violent or disorderly assembly; and (3) participation in a violent or disorderly assembly by an individual from another state.
Citizen and Taxpayer Protection Measures:
No “Defund the Police” Permitted: Prohibits state grants or aid to any local government that slashes the budget for law enforcement services.
Waives sovereign immunity to allow a victim of a crime related to a violent or disorderly assembly to sue the local government for damages where the local government is grossly negligent in protecting persons and property.
Terminates state benefits and makes anyone ineligible for employment by state/local government if convicted of participating in a violent or disorderly assembly.
No bond or bail until the first appearance in court if charged with a crime related to participating in a violent or disorderly assembly; rebuttable presumption against bond or bail after the first appearance.
“The signing of #HB1 being signed today is a deliberate scare tactic, considering that closing arguments in the #DerekChauvinTrial started today,” tweeted Florida State Senator Shevrin Jones. “This was never about protecting ‘peaceful protesters,’ it has always been about silencing a group of protesters, black & brown voices.”
Here is the link to the full bill.