State Watch

DeSantis proposing 'anti-mob' legislation to expand Florida's 'stand your ground' law

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is proposing "anti-mob" legislation to expand the state's "stand your ground" law, according to the Miami Herald

The legislation would reportedly expand the state's list of "forcible felonies" to justify using force against people engaging in conduct resulting in the "interruption or impairment" of a business. It would also justify the use of force against those involved in looting, which is defined as a burglary within 500 feet of a "violent or disorderly assembly." 

The proposal also adds criminal penalties for engaging in "violent or disorderly assemblies" and would make blocking traffic during a protest a third-degree felony, the newspaper notes, adding that it would also offer immunity to drivers who say they accidentally killed or injured protesters who block traffic and withhold state funds from local governments that cut law enforcement budgets.

The legislation was drafted amid the series of protests this summer over the police killings of unarmed African Americans, according to the Herald. The protests began after the death of George Floyd in police custody. 

While many of these protests were peaceful, some turned violent. The violence drew the attention of President Trump, who repeatedly blamed it on "antifa" and "the radical left" in a bid to portray himself as a "law and order" president.

The Trump administration had been heavily targeting protesters since then and has been more aggressive with charging them. 

DeSantis pledged in September to crack down on "violent and disorderly assemblies," the Herald notes, pointing to unrest in other parts of the country amid Floyd's death. 

"It's clear that the Trump beauty pageant is still going on with governors and senators, who all want to be the next Trump," Miami Breach Mayor Dan Gelber (D) told the newspaper. "And the governor is clearly a very good contestant." 

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