Over the weekend, demonstrators marched through downtown Miami and Brickell, blocking traffic while calling for defunding the police. Ultimately, the protest ended with protestors being tear gassed on I-395, and this is resulting in legislation that may reach the House or Senate floor.
In response, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) drafted an “anti-mob” legislation, and it would expand Florida’s controversial Stand Your Ground Law. This is receiving criticism because detractors argue it will allow armed citizens to shoot suspected looters or anyone that may be involved in “criminal mischief.”
Denise Georges, who is a former Miami-Dade County prosecutor who handled Stand Your Ground Cases, argued that the legislation “allows for vigilantes to justify their actions,” adding that it also “allows for death to be the punishment for a property crime – and that is cruel and unusual punishment.” Georges also noted that “we cannot live in a lawless society where taking a life is done so casually and recklessly.”
In September, Governor DeSantis vowed to crack down on “violent and disorderly assemblies,” and his proposal expands the list of “forcible felonies” under the sunshine state’s self-defense law to justify use of force enacted against any individual whose actions cause any “interruption or impairment” of a business.
In response to the Governor’s vow to crack down on said assemblies, Florida Democrats voiced their disapproval of his order and what it would mean for the country.
In DeSantis’ draft, the proposal argues that blocking traffic should be a third-degree felony. Moreover, another controversial measure is that it would offer immunity to drivers who argue that they unintentionally killed or injured any protestors who were blocking traffic. Finally, the legislation also withholds state funds from any local governments that choose to cut law enforcement budgets.
The legislation only remains in its draft form, and no bill has been introduced in either the House or the Senate.