Finally, one state governor is strong enough to not only take a hardline stance supporting law enforcement but also push for tougher penalties on violent rioters. Unlike Governors Kate Brown of Oregon or Andrew Cuomo of New York, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis made it clear he will not stand for lawlessness in his home state.
During a press conference held at the Polk County Sherriff’s office, DeSantis revealed a package of legislation called “The Combating Violence, Disorder, and Looting and Law Enforcement Protection Act” which he described as “the boldest and most comprehensive piece of legislation to address these issues anywhere in the country.”
The governor posted his proposed laws on Twitter, detailing exactly what they will accomplish.
He stated, “Today I announced bold legislation that creates new criminal offenses and increases penalties for those who target law enforcement and participate in violent or disorderly assemblies. We will always stand with our men and women in uniform who keep our communities safe.”
Today I announced bold legislation that creates new criminal offenses and increases penalties for those who target law enforcement and participate in violent or disorderly assemblies. We will always stand with our men and women in uniform who keep our communities safe. pic.twitter.com/ITl5GmmrZJ
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) September 21, 2020
The Act would enable felony charges to be placed on rioters who stop traffic without authorization, participate in a protest that leads to property damage or injury, destroy monuments, or organize/fund a disorderly assembly. Harassing people in public spaces would be a misdemeanor.
Any driver who causes injury or death by driving off to flee a mob attacking them will not be liable.
The proposed legislation also criminalizes assaulting police officers during protests. Hitting a law enforcement officer or throwing anything at them during a violent or disorderly assembly will result in 6 months minimum in jail.
Additionally, the potential laws would provide citizen and taxpayer protection measures. They would prohibit “state grants or aid to any local government that slashes the budget for law enforcement services” to prevent cities and counties from defunding the police.
Any person convicted of participating in any criminal offense during a violent protest will be ineligible for hire by the state government, unable to receive state benefits, or be afforded bail until after their first appearance in court.
The law would also designate protections for any wrongful victim of a crime committed by a rioter by allowing them “to sue local government for damages where the local government is grossly negligent in protecting persons and property.”
This legislation certainly is the most comprehensive – and maybe the only – proposal we’ve seen thus far since the riots first began in May. If passed, it will protect citizens and police officers subjected to the terror tactics of unhinged rioters. At least Governor DeSantis is standing up for his constituents while most others are either afraid to or just don’t care.
Hopefully, this package of laws will inspire other states to do the same and restore law and order across the country.