On Monday, Gov. Ron DeSantis pushed a bill that would aggressively crack down on the right to protest — and protect drivers from liability if they run over members of “a mob” in the course of trying to escape.
Today I announced bold legislation that creates new criminal offenses and increases penalties for those who target law enforcement and participate in violent or disorderly assemblies. We will always stand with our men and women in uniform who keep our communities safe. pic.twitter.com/ITl5GmmrZJ
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) September 21, 2020
“Under the ‘new criminal offenses’ section established by the would-be Combatting Violence, Disorder and Looting and Law Enforcement Protection Act, DeSantis declared it a third-degree felony to obstruct traffic during an ‘unpermitted protest, demonstration or violent or disorderly assembly,'” reported Law & Crime. “Notably, the next clause purports to remove liability for injury or death a driver causes if that driver is ‘fleeing for safety from a mob.'”
The bill follows the lead of Republicans in several other states, who have proposed or passed bills that shielded drivers from liability if they injure protesters blocking roads — legislation that drew outrage in the wake of the fatal 2017 vehicle-ramming attack in Charlottesville, Virginia.
DeSantis’ proposed legislation would also make it a second-degree felony to topple monuments during a “violent or disorderly assembly,” allow racketeering charges against those who organize such assemblies, create new mandatory minimums for protesters who strike police officers, and making it illegal for local governments to reduce funding for law enforcement.