Governor DeSantis proposes new bill that would crackdown on violent protests

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Governor Ron DeSantis announced a new bill Monday that would increase charges for those who participate in a violent or disorderly assembly.

DeSantis made the announcement at the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. The bill is called the “Combating Violence, Disorder and Looting and Law Enforcement Protection Act."

A violent or disorderly assembly would be defined as when seven ore more people are involved in an assembly that causes damage to property or injury to people.

“Our right to peacefully assemble is one of our most cherished as Americans, but throughout the country we’ve seen that right being taken advantage of by professional agitators, bent on sowing disorder and causing mayhem in our cities,” DeSantis said. “I will not allow this kind of violence to occur here in Florida. The legislation announced today will not only combat rioting and looting, but also protect the men and women in law enforcement that wake up every day to keep us safe. I look forward to working with the Florida Legislature next session to sign this proposal into law.”

If approved, here is what would happen:

  • Anyone arrested during a violent or disorderly assembly will face a 3rd Degree Felony.
  • Anyone who obstructs a roadway during a unpermitted protest or violent/disorderly assembly will face a 3rd Degree Felony.
  • Anyone who destroys a public monument will face a 2nd Degree Felony.
  • Anyone who harasses a person at a public accommodation, such as a restaurant, will face a 1st Degree Misdemeanor.
  • Striking a law enforcement officer will have a six month mandatory minimum jail sentence.
  • If someone throws an object that hits a person or a law enforcement officer, assault a law enforcement officer, or participates in the violent/disorderly assemble and is from another state, they will receive offense enhancements.
  • No bond or bail will be put in place until the first appearance in court, if charged with a crime related to participating in a disorderly assembly.

Additionally, DeSantis said that if any municipalities defund police departments, they will face a budget cut.

“If you defund the police, the state will defund any grants or aids coming to you,” DeSantis said.

The next legislative session will start in March 2021.

Hannah Lee

Hannah Lee

Hannah Lee is a General Assignment Reporter for 104.5 WOKV.