On Monday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) signed HB 1, known as the “Anti-Riot Bill,” which aims to crack down on rioting as further riots are expected to breakout after the verdict of the Derek Chauvin case involving the death of George Floyd is announced.
According to WFLA, the bill “defines ‘riot’ as a violent public disturbance involving 3 or more people acting with common intent resulting in injury to others, damage to property, or the imminent danger of injury or damage.”
“[The Anti-Riot bill] Creates a new second-degree felony called an ‘aggravated riot,’ which occurs when the riot has more than 25 participants, causes great bodily harm or more than $5,000 in property damage, uses or threatens to use a deadly weapon, or blocks roadways by force or threat of force,” WFLA writes, adding that the bill also “Makes it more difficult for cities and counties to reduce funding for law enforcement, allowing local elected officials to challenge those budget decisions, and giving the state power to approve or amend the local budget.”
The bill comes as riots have begun to outbreak ahead of the announcement of the Derek Chauvin case verdict in cities other than Portland, which is seemingly perpetually under siege. After the death of George Floyd on May 25th, 2020, within two weeks rioters had caused $2 billion in damages and caused the deaths of 19 people.
As many Democrat leaders have allowed the rioters to freely destroy their cities and hurt innocent people, like in Portland where more than 91% of rioters arrested were not prosecuted, Florida’s Anti-Riot bill has been labeled “controversial.”
According to the Orlando Sentinel, “The parts of the bill (HB 1 ) that most upset Democrats grant civil legal immunity to people who drive through protesters blocking a road; prevent people arrested for rioting or offenses committed during a riot from bailing out of jail until their first court appearance; and impose a six-month mandatory sentence for battery on a police officer during a riot.”
The most “upsetting” part of the bill to Democrats is a protection of innocent drivers who are threatened by rioters, while rioters notoriously stop traffic and beat drivers. For example, KLCC reported, “In one incident captured on video, a rideshare driver and her two passengers were blocked from entering the Washington street ramp onto eastbound I-105. Rioters surrounded her car and smashed its rear window. The passengers fled. When the driver exited, the mob punched her in the face and stomach, before knocking her to the pavement.”