On Monday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) signed a highly-anticipated “anti-riot” bill into law, implementing severe penalties on those who engage in violent rioting in the state, as reported by Fox News.
The law, which will take immediate effect, will serve the purpose of “combating public disorder” if riotous activity breaks out during protests. It is widely seen as a response to the violent race riots that spread across the country last year, which resulted in dozens of cities being burned, hundreds of businesses looted and destroyed, many statues and historic monuments being desecrated, over $2 billion in damages, and at least 25 people killed by rioters.
“If you look at the breadth of this particular piece of legislation,” Governor DeSantis said following the signing, “it is the strongest anti-rioting, pro-law enforcement piece of legislation in the country. There’s just nothing even close.”
Among other provisions, the law grants civil legal immunity to anyone who drives their vehicle through protesters that are blocking a road or street. It also allows authorities to prevent arrested demonstrators from posting bail until after their first appearance in court. On the law enforcement side, the law increases the penalty for the charge of assaulting an officer during a riot, and requires local governments to provide some justification for reducing their law enforcement budgets, which aims to counter the push by the far-left to “defund the police.”
In addition, the bill allows citizens to sue local governments if any of their personal property is damaged during a riot, if it can be determined that such local entities actively interfered with law enforcement during the violence. Penalties are increased for any rioters who block roads or vandalize monuments, and an entirely new criminal charge is created by the law, called “mob intimidation.”