UNF Spinnaker

Gov. Desantis’ new “Anti-mob” bill

Nathan Turoff, Student Government Reporter

A few weeks ago, Florida Governor Ron Desantis proposed a change to the state’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law as part of his “anti-mob” legislation in response to the civil unrest following acts of police brutality. Spinnaker spoke with local First Amendment Attorney Edward Birk about this proposed legislation.

Governor Ron Desantis, photo by POLITICO / Joe Raedle.

Birk explained how the governor is pandering to his base with this bill. If there is reform, it needs to be on a larger scale.

Plenty of laws already provide punishments for violent protestors. The right to peacefully assemble is already covered under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

“The proposed legislation would intimidate people and it would discourage dissent, Birk said.”

The issue is where we draw the line. In the past few years, there has been a rising sentiment by the general public that police provoke violence. This legislation creates a situation where police are immune if they act unlawfully. There is a growing movement to reform the policing system, so that situations can be de-escalated more often than not. 

“This legislation creates a situation where police would be immune if they acted unlawfully,” Birk mentioned.

Birk compared this legislation to the extreme sentences imposed by the war on drugs, and would lead to more people in jail.

Police in riot gear in Oakland, California. Photo by TIME / Josh Edelson.

Birk also explained how the legislation had not been filed yet, and it would certainly initiate some debate in the state legislature. Because of this, the future of this bill is dependent on the makeup of the state legislature when it is filed. 

“If this were the final product, I’d be on my way to the Supreme Court,” joked Birk.

As of right now, it is only just a proposal. Spinnaker will follow this story as it develops.

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