America has been dealing with some of the worst protests the country has ever seen in recent years. With the Black Lives Movement growing all throughout the United States, depending on what side you’re on, laws can either be for or against you it seems.
Florida Governor, Ron DeSantis, has been busy drafting new legislation in the hopes of expanding another Florida law that’s already in existence, the ‘Stand Your Ground’ law. He’s referring to the new legislation as an “anti-mob” bill, which appears to be targeting everyone involved in the Black Lives Matter movement via protests and other demonstrations that have taken place all throughout the country. These protests were spurred on by the unlawful death of George Floyd, and while there have been both peaceful and violet demonstrations, they are all fighting against systemic police brutality.
If the bill is passed, this new legislation would allow the citizens of the Florida state to take up arms and shoot – and even possibly kill – anyone they believe is looting their homes or their businesses. But given the implications that could occur with this bill, many are skeptical that it could actually do more good than harm.
The news publication, Miami Herald, claims that this new law is the state’s attempt to stop “violent and disorderly assemblies” by giving civilians the go signal to use violence against those they suspect are causing “interruption or impairment” to their business. The law even specifies that any form of burglary done within 500 feet of “violent or disorderly assembly” can be legally countered with lethal force.
A number of legal experts and law enforcement personnel have criticized the proposed bill, worried that residents acting as vigilantes will feel like they have a license to kill anyone they justify as a rioter or someone that is “burglarizing” their property. Rather than make things safer, this could actually make civil unrest throughout the state worse than it already is.
At the same time, Denise Georges, who happens to be the former Miami-Dade County prosecutor, has had previous experience with other ‘Stand Your Ground’ cases. She told media publication the Herald, “It allows for vigilante 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.”
Moreover, the new bill also includes measures that give immunity to citizens that end up hurting or injuring protesters that are blocking the road. The law will make it a third-degree felony to block traffic, as well as provide immunity to drivers that end up injuring or even killing protestors that are blocking the road.
Another portion of the new legislation also includes language that aims at blocking any local jurisdictions from defunding police departments, which would cut their overall budget should they choose to lessen any of the police funding. According to former prosecutor and Miami Beach Mayor, Dan Gelber, who is already quite critical of the existing ‘Stand Your Ground’ law, he believes that DeSantis was trying to get on the good side of the Trump administration by introducing this new bill.
Gelber explained, “It’s clear that the Trump beauty pageant is still going on with the governors and senators, who all want to be the next Trump. And the governor is clearly a very good contestant.”
This new proposed law is still currently in draft form, and the earliest it can even be considered is in the next 2021 legislative session. But the fact that Trump has lost the latest presidential elections doesn’t look hopeful for DeSantis, to say the least.
DeSantis has been attempting to enforce new ways to lessen protests in Florida all year, with some measures including immunity for drivers who run over protestors. But again, legal experts and some law enforcement agencies are worried that these types of measures will send the wrong message, allowing vigilantes to act on what they consider are the right beliefs, regardless of who they hurt, or possibly even kill, in the process.
There have already been a number of vigilante violence cases in the past, many of which allow suspects to walk away scot-free because of the already existent laws. And honestly, what America needs now are not citizens acting as vigilantes because of what they feel is right, but rather laws that will protect their citizens as they safely protest issues that matter to them the most.
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True Activist / Report a typo