Florida Governor Seeks New Penalties For Violent Protesters

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TALLAHASSEE — Violent protesters and looters would face new felonies under proposed legislation Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Monday.

Backed by sheriffs, police chiefs and the incoming Senate president and House speaker, DeSantis said the state is going to get tough on anyone who participates in disorderly protests that cause property damage or injury.

“Recently in our country we have seen attacks on law enforcement, we’ve seen disorder and tumult in many cities,” DeSantis said. “This has been a really, really sad chapter in American history.”

The proposed package would also strip municipalities of state money if they defund law enforcement. It would also create new penalties for people who harass people in restaurants, who tear down monuments or damage or destroy public property during a violent assembly. People from out of state would face enhanced penalties for participating.

While DeSantis said Florida hasn’t seen the type of violent protests that have occurred in other states, he said he wants to make sure they don’t happen.

“We need to do more in terms of a strong legislative response so we do not always have to play whack-a-mole any time you have situations like this develop,” DeSantis said.

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