DeSantis introduces legislation that allows citizens to shoot people targeting businesses
DeSantis' proposal is in response to police brutality protests that took place this summer after George Floyd's killing.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is seeking to expand that state’s Stand Your Ground law in a move that will allow armed citizens to shoot people suspected of looting or otherwise engaged in “criminal mischief” that disrupts a business.
It also redefines a “burglary” as occurring within 500 feet of a “violent or disorderly assembly.”
DeSantis’ proposal was drafted in response to police brutality protests that took place across the country this summer in the wake of the May 25 killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis officers.
While most demonstrations were peaceful, some devolved into property damage. These few instances led to Republican leaders, including President Donald Trump, to declare “law and order” as the rule of the day in the U.S.
The Miami Herald is reporting that in addition to the Stand Your Ground expansion, the new legislation would make it easy for vigilantes to justify their actions, which could easily be based on race.
The draft has thus far not found a single legislator who has said they will support it during the 2021 legislative session, which begins on March 2.
“We cannot live in a lawless society where taking a life is done so casually and recklessly,” former Miami-Dade prosecutor Denise Georges told the Herald.
The proposal would also offer immunity to a driver who claims to have “unintentionally” hit or killed protesters who block traffic. It would also make blocking traffic a third-degree felony.
As it stands, the draft would also withhold state funds to local governments that make cuts to law enforcement budgets, an effort that has been called “defunding the police.”
Additionally, people who are arrested in connection with a peaceful protest would be held without bail or bond until they see a judge.
“It’s clear that the Trump beauty pageant is still going on with governors and senators, who all want to be the next Trump. And the governor is clearly a very good contestant,” said Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber, a former federal prosecutor and Democratic state legislator.
During the 2020 presidential campaign, during which he campaigned for Trump, DeSantis would often brag about the legislation, calling it the strongest pro-law enforcement, anti-looting, anti-rioting legislation in the country.
Miami defense attorney Phil Reizenstein called it a waste of resources, saying “it’s bad policy to enact criminal statutes for transient political issues. Time and money are better spent addressing the underlying causes of the unrest.”