TALLAHASSEE, FL – This week, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced new legislation which, if passed, will not only protect police departments from being defunded, but also establish a series of strict punishments for protesters who engage in rioting, looting, or other unlawful behavior.
DeSantis (R) unveiled the “Combatting Violence, Disorder and Looting and Law Enforcement Protection Act” on Monday, which would cut state funding to any cities or municipalities that reduce or otherwise cut police department budgets. Since the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police in late May of this year, there have been calls from some members of the public to “defund the police” and use those funds for community programs instead.
In addition, the legislation would also impose harsher penalties to protestors who engage in behavior such as violence, vandalism, or harassment. For example, if passed, DeSantis’ bill would make acts such as blocking traffic, harassing people in private businesses, or assaulting police officers felonies.
DeSantis Tweeted about the legislation earlier this week, saying that “We will always stand with our men and women in uniform who keep our communities safe.”
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The bill’s passage may face significant resistance in the Democrat-controlled upper chamber of Florida’s state legislature however.
Since George Floyd’s death, there have been numerous protests around the country calling for police accountability and decrying the treatment of African Americans at the hands of some officers. While many protests have been peaceful, there have been many instances where protestors have engaged in looting and rioting, destroying property and stealing from businesses.