Protestors Miami Florida
Protestors Miami Florida
(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Florida Governor Drafts Anti-Protest Legislation That Expands Stand Your Ground Law

The drafted legislation is a direct response to the protests that have happened throughout 2020 in Florida.

Florida's Republican Governor Ron DeSantis has drafted “anti-mob” legislation that could have damaging ramifications. 

If your mind went immediately to the safety of organizers and activists, you are thinking clearly about the right to protest Americans have acted upon heavily this year. Critics are saying the legislation could grant armed citizens the right to shoot “suspected looters” or those engaged in “criminal mischief” which disrupts a business.

A Miami Herald report digs into DeSantis’ draft and notes it's a direct response to police brutality protests that happened heavily not just in Florida, but throughout the United States in 2020. A former prosecutor familiar with Stand Your Ground cases, Denise Georges shared the following:

“It allows for vigilantes to justify their actions. It also allows for death to be the punishment for a property crime — and that is cruel and unusual punishment. We cannot live in a lawless society where taking a life is done so casually and recklessly.”

Back in September, DeSantis said he’d crack down on “violent and disorderly assemblies,” this legislation points to the plans he has. He stated the assemblies in the U.S. came to be following George Floyd’s death and called them “reports of unrest.” His statements echoed Donald Trump's viewpoint of the unrest that followed the extrajudicial killings of Blacks this year.

Simply put the proposal would expand the list of “forcible felonies” under Florida’s self-defense law. It would justify the use of force against people engaging in criminal mischief which results in “interruption or impairment” of a business. Additionally, looting is defined as burglary within 500 feet of a “violent or disorderly assembly.”

There’s no doubt that the drafted legislation is a hit at the activist communities in Florida. At the moment, it’s titled “anti-mob legislation draft” and has been sent to Florida’s House Judiciary Committee.

Micah Kubic, the director of the ACLU of Florida provided a sobering statement on DeSantis’ proposal, “This effort has one goal: silence, criminalize, and penalize Floridians who want to see justice for Black lives lost to racialized violence and brutality at the hands of law enforcement.”