Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis is proposing a new legislation that protects drivers if they are “fleeing for safety from a mob.” In other words, this would not hold the driver liable in the event that their vehicle has hit a protester if the driver felt they needed to drive away to get to safety.
For example, if a driver finds themselves surrounded by protesters who are attacking the vehicle or the passengers, and the driver drives away, hitting a protester in the process, this law will not hold the driver liable for any injuries or worse.
This part of the legislation is part of the Combatting Violence, Disorder and Looting and Protecting Law Enforcement Act, which targets violent protesters while protecting citizens who are seeking safety.
DeSantis has posted about it on Twitter, saying “Today I announced bold legislation that creates new criminal offenses and increases penalties for those who target law enforcement and participate in violent or disorderly assemblies. We will always stand with our men and women in uniform who keep our communities safe.”
His message included a photograph showing some of the proposals in his new legislation.
Today I announced bold legislation that creates new criminal offenses and increases penalties for those who target law enforcement and participate in violent or disorderly assemblies. We will always stand with our men and women in uniform who keep our communities safe. pic.twitter.com/ITl5GmmrZJ
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) September 21, 2020
It appears that numerous aspects of protest, which may not appear to many as peaceful, will be criminalized by DeSantis.
Section one focuses on actions that can face criminal prosecution. These can include causing injury or damage to people or property while in a group of seven or more, obstructing traffic during an unpermitted protest and/or violent or disorderly assembly, destroying public property during a violent or disorderly assembly, harassing and/or intimidating people in public places such as restaurants, and RICO liability.
Section two is about increased penalties for certain crimes. Striking an officer of the law will come with six months mandatory minimum jail sentence – and this includes projectiles. This also covers hitting civilians with projectiles, and assault/battery incidents.
Section three is about citizen and taxpayer protection measures. It appears that no state grants or aid will go to any local government that defunds their police force. Victim compensation waives sovereign immunity to allow a victim of a crime related to a violent or disorderly assembly to sue local government for damages where the local government is grossly negligent in protecting persons and property.
Also part of section three is verbiage that terminates state benefits and makes anyone caught participating in a violent assembly to be ineligible for employment by state or local government.
And finally, bail would not be an option until the first court appearance for anyone charged with participating in a violent or disorderly protest/assembly.
For further review, in the event that DeSantis’ tweet is deleted, is the image that he attached with his original message.