‘Anti-mob’ proposal from Gov. Ron DeSantis sparks concerns

Florida

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Gov. Ron DeSantis has drafted sweeping legislation that would crack down on violent protests, expand “stand your ground” protections, withhold state funds from any local governments that reduce law enforcement funding and much more.

DeSantis first announced some of the measures at a September press conference with Grady Judd at the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

The draft legislation provides many more specifics:

Several Florida state attorneys and self-defense legal experts have expressed concern about some of the governor’s proposals, like expanding “Stand Your Ground” protections to include justifying deadly force to prevent “looting; criminal mischief that results in the interruption or impairment
of a business operation; arson that results in the interruption or impairment of a business
operation.”

“If the goal of these proposals is to hold people accountable who commit crimes while protecting the rights of protesters, then that’s a goal that we share,” said Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren. “But this looks like political theater. I’m not sure why the governor is spending time on divisive rhetoric and empty proposals that do little to address racial justice, do little to address public safety, and do nothing to address our health and our jobs.”

Caroline Light, author of the book “Stand Your Ground: A History of America’s Love Affair with Lethal Self-Defense,” said it’s likely to encourage vigilantism.

“It’s flipping the script on violence by characterizing the demonstrators as dangerous and threatening, and characterizing those folks who might want to use violence against those demonstrators as heroic and self-defensive,” she said.

8 On Your Side reached out to the governor’s office on Thursday and will update this story with its response.

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