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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis ‘to allow armed citizens to shoot suspected looters and rioters’

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis ‘to allow armed citizens to shoot suspected looters and rioters’ who target businesses in an expansion of the state’s Stand Your Ground law after a summer of unrest

  • Gov. Ron DeSantis has drafted ‘anti-mob’ legislation that would expand Florida’s Stand Your Ground law 
  • It would allow armed citizens to shoot suspected looters or anyone engaged in ‘criminal mischief’ that disrupts a business 
  • The expansion comes in response to police-brutality protests that erupted across Florida and the rest of the U.S. this past summer 
  • It would also make it a third-degree felony to block traffic during a protest
  • Drivers who claim to have unintentionally killed or injured protesters who block traffic would also be immune from prosecution
  • DeSantis’ pledged in September to crack down on ‘violent and disorderly assemblies’ that occurred after the death of George Floyd killed by a white cop

Florida‘s Governor is proposing to expand the state’s Stand Your Ground law to allow armed citizens to shoot and possibly kill anyone they suspect of rioting. 

Ron DeSantis has drafted so-called ‘anti-mob’ legislation which comes in direct response to several months of unrest in the U.S. this past summer which often led to rioting and looting both in Florida and other states around the country.

But the widening of the law could allow armed citizens to shoot and potentially kill anyone they suspect of looting and not just if they feel their own personal safety to be at risk.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has drafted ‘anti-mob’ legislation that would expand Florida’s Stand Your Ground law

DeSantis’ newest legislation is an attempt to prevent ‘violent and disorderly assemblies’ by permitting violence against anyone involved in the ‘interruption or impairment’ of a business.

The draft version of the law states this can include someone ‘suspected of a burglary within 500 feet of violent or disorderly assembly.’ 

The legislation also includes measures that would make protesting that sees traffic being blocked, third degree felony. 

Immunity would even be granted to drivers who unintentionally kill or injure protesters who were blocking traffic. 

It would allow armed citizens to shoot suspected looters or anyone engaged in 'criminal mischief' that disrupts a business. Pictured, protestors form a line in front of a CVS store in Miami in May to avoid people breaking the store windows during a rally in response to the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died while in police custody in Minneapolis

It would allow armed citizens to shoot suspected looters or anyone engaged in ‘criminal mischief’ that disrupts a business. Pictured, protestors form a line in front of a CVS store in Miami in May to avoid people breaking the store windows during a rally in response to the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died while in police custody in Minneapolis

One former prosecutor is unhappy at the proposals. 

‘It allows for vigilantes to justify their actions. It also allows for death to be the punishment for a property crime — and that is cruel and unusual punishment. We cannot live in a lawless society where taking a life is done so casually and recklessly,’ said former Miami-Dade County prosecutor, Denise Georges to the Miami Herald. 

The law would also allow the state to withhold funds from local governments and cities that cut police budgets.

DeSantis, who was re-elected as Governor last week and is a loyal supporter of President Trump has sent copies of the legislation to the state’s Senate Committee on Criminal Justice and the House Judiciary Committee.

‘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.’ Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said to the Herald. 

The expansion comes in response to police-brutality protests that erupted across Florida and the rest of the U.S. this past summer. Pictured, protesters gather at Fort Lauderdale Police Department during a rally in response to the death of George Floyd

The expansion comes in response to police-brutality protests that erupted across Florida and the rest of the U.S. this past summer. Pictured, protesters gather at Fort Lauderdale Police Department during a rally in response to the death of George Floyd

FLORIDA’S STAND YOUR GROUND LAW

Travyon Martin, 17, was shot dead in 2012

Travyon Martin, 17, was shot dead in 2012 

In 2005, Florida enacted its law whereby it is legal for a person to exert deadly force if; 

I) the person reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself, or another, or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony; or

II) the person acts under a reasonable belief as to the necessity of force 

In most cases, self-defense only works as a criminal defense if a person has tried to get themselves out of danger and failed to first. It is known as a ‘duty to retreat.’ 

Stand Your Ground states differ because they do not impose a duty to retreat. 

George Zimmerman, who shot the teenager, was acquitted after using a Stand Your Ground defense

George Zimmerman, who shot the teenager, was acquitted after using a Stand Your Ground defense 

In Florida, the law not only protects a person from criminal prosecution but also from civil proceedings. 

It is one of the strongest among the 25 states which have Stand Your Ground laws. 

Most of them are in the South and 10 actually include the phrase ‘stand your ground’ in the legislation. 

It sparked fury in 2012 in Florida when a jury acquitted George Zimmerman in the death of teenager Trayvon Martin. 

Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer in the town of Sanford, followed Martin, who he said was behaving ‘suspiciously’, as he walked to a 7-Eleven to get a snack. 

They got into an altercation afterwards and Zimmerman shot him in the chest. 

The teenager was unarmed and died three minutes later. But Zimmerman said he feared for his life and a jury believed him.  

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