The Florida anti-riot law was signed by Gov DeSantis on April 20. But it was Sheriff Grady Judd’s remarks that captured the attention of those at the press conference. He warned those who come to Florida not to vote for the same policies that they fled in other states.
“We’re a special place and there are millions and millions of people who like to come here, and quite frankly, we like to have them here. So we only want to share one thing as you move in hundreds a day, welcome to Florida, but don’t register to vote and vote the stupid way you did up north or you’ll get what they got.”
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd (excerpt)
The Florida anti-riot law
The new Florida anti-riot law puts enhanced penalties for crimes committed during a riot. It aims to protect businesses from the massive damage and looting that have taken place in Democrat-run cities like Portland, Minneapolis, and Seattle.
The bill was controversial from the start. Civil rights advocates think the bill will quash protests. But the bill is aimed at riots, not peaceful protests.
One provision states that a driver is not liable for killing protesters who block the road if they are fleeing a mob. We have seen countless videos on mobs surrounding drivers, who are often dragged out of their cars, beaten, and their cars severely vandalized.
A driver won’t have immunity against prosecution for hitting a protester with their car, but they have some level of civil protection. If a driver feels threatened by a protester and runs them over, the law provides them with some defense mechanisms if they are sued.
The perpetrators of a riot will not be allowed bail until their first court appearance- anywhere from 24-48 hours. The definition of a “riot” and “aggravated rioting” are different. Gov DeSantis also acknowledged Sheriff Wayne Ivey of Brevard County for standing with him on the issue of no bail and releasing prisoners. (Daily Wire)
- Willfully participate in a violent public disturbance involving three or more people.
- Act with the intent of helping each other in committing “violent and disorderly conduct”.
- Cause injuries, property damage, or “imminent danger” of bodily injuries or property damage.
Aggravated riot definition:
- Participate with 25 or more people.
- Cause “great bodily harm” to someone not participating in the demonstration.
- Cause property damage in excess of $5,000.
- Display, use, threaten to use, or try to use a weapon.
- Impede the movement of a car on a street or highway by using force or the threat of force.
No mob intimidation will be allowed for people who just want to enjoy their lunch at a restaurant or other public place.
Initially, DeSantis wanted to make it a crime for a protester to harass or intimidate someone at a restaurant or other public place. The law now makes it a first-degree misdemeanor for a group of three or more protesters to use violence or the threat of violence to try changing someone’s point of view. The crime is punishable by a jail term of up to one year and fines of up to $1,000.
If one of the rioters assaults an officer (as happened in Portland the other night), they’ll get a six month mandatory minimum sentence upon being convicted.
And there will be no “defunding the police” in Florida, or that city will get no state aid.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd was clear in his statement:
Pay attention. We’ve got a new law and we’re going to use it if you make us. We’re going to protect the people. No longer will people walk up and surround you as a citizen of Florida or a visitor of Florida, surround you while you’re eating dinner at an outdoor cafe in a big mob without there being immediate consequences and arrest. It’s not acceptable. Well, there’s always some that don’t get it the first time. Peaceful protest, we encourage. And more riot. We can tell the difference, and I’ll guarantee you that you’ll be able to tell the difference if you come here and riot. If you come here and protest peacefully, we encourage that.
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