Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a new anti-riot bill into law on Monday, a move that was widely decried by Democrats.
The bill will allow the state to crack down on the kind of violent protests, arson, and mass looting which has plagued America in the wake of the death of George Floyd.
As The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports:
“If you look at the breadth of this particular piece of legislation, it is the strongest anti-rioting, pro-law enforcement piece of legislation in the country,” DeSantis said at a press conference in Winter Haven surrounded by Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd, uniformed deputies and other law enforcement. “There’s just nothing even close.”…
The law, which goes into effect immediately, grants civil legal immunity to people who drive through protesters blocking a road, which Democrats argued might have protected the white nationalist who ran over and killed counter-protester Heather Heyer during the Charlottesville tumult in 2017. It also makes blocking a highway a felony offense.
The law also creates a broad category for misdemeanor arrest during protests, and anyone charged under that provision will be denied bail until their first court appearance. DeSantis said he wanted that to prevent people from rejoining ongoing protests.
It creates a new felony crime of “aggravated rioting” that carries a sentence of up to 15 years in prison and a new crime of “mob intimidation.”