New legislation drafted by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis could give residents expanded powers to fight looting and rioting in extreme situations.
DeSantis has taken a strong stand against the violent protests that unfolded in the United States in 2020, striving to implement policies that promote law and order in his state.
An “anti-mob” bill, which is seen as an extension of the state’s Stand Your Ground law, has been released by the governor’s office and is circulating among lawmakers and major committees, according to the Miami Herald.
The proposal would expand the list of ‘forced crimes’ under Florida’s self-defense law to justify the use of force against people who engage in criminal mischief resulting in ‘disruption or deterioration’ of a business, and looting, which the project defines as burglary within 500 feet of a “violent or disorderly gathering,” “the newspaper reports.
“Other key elements of DeSantis’ proposal would strengthen criminal penalties for those involved in ‘violent or disorderly gatherings’, make it a third-degree felony to block traffic during a protest, offer immunity to drivers who claim to have unintentionally killed or injured protesters. that block traffic and withhold public funds from local governments that reduce law enforcement budgets. “
Citing a range of legal experts and former prosecutors, the Herald says critics believe the legislation “would allow armed citizens to shoot suspected looters or anyone involved in” criminal mischief “that disrupts a business. . “
The proposal would also block the release of suspects accused of participating in “violent or disorderly gatherings”, which are defined as gatherings of more than six people who “substantially obstruct” government functions or services, create an “immediate danger of damage to property or injury to persons, ”and which deprives anyone of a“ legal right or disturbs anyone in the enjoyment of a legal right, ”” explains the Herald.
So far, the proposal would be just a draft and no formal tabling has been made in the Florida House or Senate.
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