Florida activists ripping mad that the state is increasing punishments for violent protestors

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ST. AUGUSTINE, FL – On Wednesday, September 22nd, Governor Ron DeSantis rolled out a legislative package that would come down hard on protesters, by making many of the things they are doing crimes.

The Governors proposal would enforce longer jail time, temporarily deny bail, and bring felony charges to anyone obstructing traffic during an un-permitted protest, along with a slew of other charges.  

It is no surprise however, that a group of Florida civil-rights activists created an uproar about the proposed laws. 

According to News4jax, representatives from the Tallahassee Community Action Committee, Southern Poverty Law Center Florida, and a St. Augustine pastor who is known for leading peaceful protests and others were among those who spoke out during a virtual press conference against what they called “draconian rhetoric” that Gov. DeSantis is using in his proposed legislation.

Their main argument is that peaceful protesters would be facing the same criminal charges as rioters. 

The group of activists wrote in a press release:

“We believe that this proposed policy is being used to distract the media and organizers from focusing on the real problem: Governor DeSantis’s failures as a governor,”

DeSantis, who is a known supporter of President Trump, would create new felony crimes when protests of seven or more people cause property damage, or injury to a person or persons. 

According to a news release issued by the governor’s office, his proposal would establish that drivers are not liable for injuries or deaths “caused if fleeing for safety from a mob,” 

Reverend Ron Rawls, a pastor at St. Paul AME Church in Lincolnville, was also not happy with DeSantis’ proposal, and said: 

“Ron DeSantis has made no public statement nor introduced any legislation that attempts to address slave catcher brutality, with disproportionate minority contact, by law enforcement but like his mentor [President Donald Trump] he stands on a podium with the abuser blaming the abused,” 

He continued: 

“There remains a great fear and government resistance to black folks speaking up for themselves and choosing not to be docile punching bags for the aggressive.”

Bacardi Jackson, a lawyer with the Southern Poverty Law Center, said:

“On its face the proposed so-called combating violence disorder and looting Law Enforcement Act is an affront to our basic constitutional rights,”

He continued:

“It is no more than an intimidation tactic to scare people into not exercising your rights to free speech and public assembly.”

DeSantis also knew that hitting theses cities where it hurts..in their pockets..would be the most effective way to quell these protests, while backing the law enforcement. His proposal would punish local governments by prohibiting state grants or aid to cities or counties that cut law-enforcement budgets.

Many of the critics who oppose this plan questioned its constitutionality, and accused the governor of trying to undermine criminal justice reforms.

When News4Jax told Governor DeSantis about the pushback, he chuckled, saying:

“Yea, right. Let me just say, do you think it’s okay to throw a brick at a police officer? Do you think its okay to burn down buildings?” 

He went on to say: 

“Protest all you want. Knock your socks off, but when it goes into violence, you know, that’s when there has to be accountability,” 

Ordinarily, the Governor’s proposal would be addressed in a legislation session in March, however DeSantis is requesting that lawmakers take it up in a one-day organizational session this November.

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Here is the story Law Enforcement Today brought you about Governor DeSantis’ original proposal. 

FLORIDA- Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced new legislation that would create stricter laws against protesting and harsher penalties for protestors.

The legislation, called “The Combating Violence, Disorder, and Looting and Law Enforcement Protection Act,” was unveiled Monday.

During a news briefing at the Polk County Sheriff’s office DeSantis claimed that the legislation will “probably be the boldest and most comprehensive piece of legislation to address these issues anywhere in the country.”

DeSantis later explained the effect that the bill would have on protests in the state of Florida. This legislation would enable felony charges to be placed on protestors who stop traffic without authorization, anyone participating in a protest that leads to property damage or injury, and anyone who destroys public property during a protest.

DeSantis also said the legislation makes harassing people in public spaces like restaurants during protests a misdemeanor.

“You see these videos of these innocent people eating dinner and you have these crazed lunatics just screaming at them and intimidating them, you’re not going to do that in the state of Florida.”

In addition to the new charges that can be levied against disorderly protestors, DeSantis is also setting a mandatory minimum for assaulting an officer during protests. The bill outlines that “striking” an officer will equate to a minimum of six months in jail.

The act also provides multiple safe guards for citizens and law enforcement agencies in the state of Florida. The third section of the legislation titled “Citizen Taxpayer Protection Measures” outlines protection for victims of riots and law enforcement budgets saying:

“A. No “Defund the Police” Permitted: Prohibits state grants or aid to any local government that slashes the budget for law enforcement services. 

B. 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.

C. Government Employment/Benefits: Terminates state benefits and makes anyone ineligible for employment by state/local government if convicted of participating in a violent or disorderly assembly.

D. Bail: No bond or bail until first appearance in court if charged with a crime related to participating in a violent or disorderly assembly; rebuttable presumption against bond or bail after first appearance.”

The passing of this legislation would set an historic precedent for the consequences of violent protesting. It will also help to mitigate disorderly protests in Florida going forward.

Though the legislation has not been passed yet it has already garnered intense backlash. A Miami news station highlighted the response by Senate Democratic Leader Audrey Gibson when she said:

“The governor is attaching himself to Donald Trump’s propaganda and manufacturing a non-existent law and order crisis in Florida, it’s political fearmongering to bolster a president’s re-election bid.”

The bill has also received criticism from Florida’s division of the ACLU with the executive director, Micah Kubic, claiming:

Gov. DeSantis’ proposal is undemocratic and hostile to Americans’ shared values. This effort has one goal: silence, criminalize, and penalize Floridians who want to see justice for Black lives lost to racialized violence and brutality at the hands of law enforcement.”

The push back that the bill is receiving doesn’t seem to be slowing the efforts of DeSantis who took to Twitter to double down on the legislation.

During his news briefing on Monday DeSantis made it clear that he will to stand for violent protests.“We’re not going to go down the road that other places have gone,” DeSantis said. “If you do it, and you know that a ton of bricks will rain down on you, then I think people will think twice about engaging in this type of conduct.”

DeSantis is fighting to stop Florida from becoming like Seattle where politicians are trying to protect criminals and defund the police.

SEATTLE, WA – According to a recent report by Jason Rantz, certain political figures in King County are attempting to orchestrate a method to defund police in the area and decrease felony incarceration as a means to gain the political clout courtesy of the actors behind the current “civil unrest”.

This, according to Rantz, is transpiring simultaneously while crime is rising within the respective areas. According to the report, the following is noted:

“Executive Dow Constantine hopes to end felony incarceration while embracing a move to defund police. As this happens, Constantine seeks a budget cut to the sheriff’s department that will cut up to 30 deputies…The reason? Constantine and other leaders are taking advantage of the civil unrest and Black Lives Matter movement to forward a purely partisan social justice agenda.”

Based upon Rantz’s read of the initiatives Constantine and others are trying to push in concurrence with the alleged motivations behind these actions will only lead to more crime:

“The result? Undoubtedly more crime. Indeed, we’re currently seeing more crime because of COVID-related releases. And Seattle, already dealing with a staffing crisis, will be particularly vulnerable to criminals on city streets.”

It’s hardly a shocking conclusion speculated by Rantz, when looking at the scenario of reducing police force sizes while curtailing incarceration for certain offenders.

Apparently this is somewhat of an issue currently plaguing Seattle, as City Attorney Pete Holmes has been credited with  not charging “half the criminal referrals he receives, because he doesn’t believe jail works.”

And if that weren’t much of a stain on Holmes’ practices as the City Attorney, he apparently also “declines charges in 65 percent of the cases” is an alleged offender isn’t already in custody.

Rantz reported that instead of jail time for certain offenders, they’d instead be redirected to something referred to as “community-based services”, under Constantine’s presented plan.

According to Rantz, Constantine is attempting to dress this effort up as something that it is genuinely not:

“Constantine notes this is for nonviolent offenders. Don’t fall for this nonsense. Violent offenders seldom see serious jail time. It’s why so many violent offenders keep recommitting crimes in Seattle. This move comes as Constantine pushes the talking point that the criminal justice system is racist.”

In reference to the “talking points” mentioned by Rantz, the following quote showcases Constantine reciting much of the rhetoric that has been abound lately:

“We have a system that is wildly racially disproportionate, and it’s disproportionate despite what Fox News will tell you, because Black and brown people are treated differently throughout our society, including by every element of the criminal and legal system.”

However, not every disparity in life – even those involving unfavorable outcomes like criminal convictions or arrests – is proof positive that there’s some widespread discrimination, as Thomas Sowell once famously pointed out:

“Discrimination can certainly cause statistical disparities. But statistical disparities do not automatically mean discrimination.”

Furthermore, in Rantz’s examination of Constantine’s clamoring of racial discrimination in the criminal justice system, he noted that there wasn’t a single specific enabler of these alleged injustices mentioned by Constantine:

“Constantine doesn’t name the racist police, judges, or jurors, of course. The wealthy, white, privileged politicians who make this argument never do.”

Apparently, King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg happens to be a fan of the plan brought forth by Constantine.

But Rantz isn’t actually concerned that these plans will actually come to fruition – he thinks this is all a means to capitalize on the good optics it portrays to the radicals causing havoc in American streets:

“Constantine’s plan won’t work. But this isn’t about results. It’s about the appearance of being a social justice crusader. This is happening because Constantine wants to please his fringe base of activists. That, he believes, ensures he has a future in politics.”

But what could be coming down the line that Rantz has concerns over is the very real possibility of making the county sheriff an appointed position instead of one that is elected by the people:

“In the county council, the anti-law enforcement council members forwarded a plan to take away our right to vote for the sheriff. Instead, they want to be able to appoint a sheriff, hoping to dupe voters into passing charter amendments five and six.”

What Rantz fears is that the county wouldn’t have an actual sheriff, but instead would have nothing more than the appearance of one that is used as a mere lackey by politicians:

“That would allow them to install a fringe leader who will do their bidding while redefining how deputies police. And if the installed sheriff doesn’t defund and de-police the way the council wants? They’ll just replace that sheriff.”

Those are some very worrisome premonitions for the King County and, de facto, the Seattle area.

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