The significance of DeSantis’ anti-riot legislation

So Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has introduced a very interesting piece of legislation aimed at preventing the state from having protracted issues with these manufactured race riots. I am going to provide a general overview of the legislation here and then discuss some specific provisions that I think are simply genius.

From the Fort Myers News-Press:

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday announced a tough new take on handling “violent and disorderly” protests in the state with the “Combatting Violence Disorder and Looting and Law Enforcement Protection Act.” 

Standing at a podium at Polk County Sheriff’s Office headquarters, DeSantis was flanked by about two dozen county sheriffs and police chiefs from throughout the state, including Polk Sheriff Grady Judd, Gilchrist County Sheriff Bobby Shultz, president of the Florida Sheriffs Association, and Satellite Beach Police Chief Jeff Pearson, president of the Florida Police Chiefs Association. 

“We have to stand unequivocally behind the people you see behind me, who put on the uniform and put themselves at risk to be able to defend our freedoms and defend our society,” DeSantis said. “I can tell you that when there is a victim in need in the state of Florida, regardless of race, color, creed — any characteristic you can think — when there is a victim at risk, these folks are going to respond and they are going to be there and they are going to stand up for the people who may not be able to stand up for themselves.” 

DeSantis, incoming Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, incoming Speaker of the House Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor, and law enforcement officials referred to riots and looting throughout the United States this summer, sparked by the death of George Floyd, who died in Minneapolis police custody in May.

The timing of DeSantis’ proposed legislation comes less than two weeks after heated clashes between protesters and police in the state’s capital city of Tallahassee.  

The major tenets of the proposal include: 

• Imposing criminal penalties for violent or disorderly assemblies, making them a third-degree felony; 

• Imposing a mandatory minimum sentence of six months in jail for anyone who assaults a law enforcement officer during a violent and disorderly protest; 

• Holding people in jail until after their first court appearance; 

• Enhanced penalties for anyone throwing a projectile during a violent or disorderly protest; 

• Enhanced penalties for people coming from out of state to participate in a violent or disorderly protest; 

• Charging people with a felony for blocking roadways; 

• Prohibiting destroying any type of public property, including monuments; 

• Prohibiting harassing innocent people;  

• Making those convicted of participating in a violent or disorderly assembly ineligible for state benefits or employment;

• Using the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act to charge with a federal crime anyone who organizes or funds a violent or disorderly assembly. 

“If you look at some of the people who have been involved in some of this violence, these are people that will come from all across the country — if there’s any type of issue, they all of a sudden show up in all these places — and we’re going to figure out who’s organizing and whose funding that and hold them accountable,” DeSantis said. 

Treating the riots as RICO cases is pretty clever. Orchestrating these riots is not a cheap enterprise. Many of the same rioters are showing up at locations all over the country. They have been caught on video many times in the hours leading up to riots dropping off supplies for sparring with the police and civilians, for producing explosives (usually Molotov cocktails and IEDs made from modified professional-grade fireworks), filling up containers of gas to use as an accelerant when they try to torch businesses and government buildings, etc.

From months of following Antifa and BLM activists around on social media and various news reports, I gather these riots are funded two ways: (1) through the quiet support of moneyed political actors, and (2) through crowdfunding platforms, which is taking place out in the open on social media. Twitter is not removing posts that relate to the organization and funding of these riots, at least not until long after the events have concluded. It’s not hard to see this stuff happening in real time.

There are also the crowdfunded bail funds, including the one infamously supported by Kamala Harris and members of the Biden campaign staff, which has been used to bail out a man who raped an 8-year-old girl, among other violent predators with no connection to these events.

But my favorite part of the bill is this:

In addition, the governor said that any local governments that choose to “defund” their law enforcement agencies will be denied any grants or aid from the state. And any cities that reduce law enforcement funding will no longer have the protection of sovereign immunity. 

“We also understand that victims need to be compensated and so if you have a situation where a local  government is grossly negligent, where they abdicate their responsibility to protect people and property like we saw in some of these cities throughout the United States, we will waive sovereign immunity and let you get compensated by suing those local governments,” DeSantis said. 

So let’s talk about what’s happening here.

For the political radicals who want to abolish the police, there are many ways to skin a cat, and they are trying currently them all:

(1) Flat-out take away agency funding, requiring police departments to lay off officers and supportive staff (“defund the police”). For state and local governments with large unfunded pension obligations, decreased funding means they will have to lay off even larger swaths of their current forces, because that’s how state and local government balanced budget provisions work.

(2) Make it socially undesirable to become a first responder. Stop funding benefits and deferred compensation that offset the fact that cops are not well compensated in general and to clarify they won’t be in line for cost of living raises going forward. Constantly malign cops to their faces and in the media (so no kid grows up wanting to become a cop and it’s too frustrating for existing cops to continue in their careers). Why risk your life for ungrateful people?

(3) Just start physically attacking and even killing cops, like what happened in Los Angeles.

(4) Eliminate immunity provisions that shelter or partially shelter cops from litigation. This ensures that any cop who is thinking about his family will choose another career path, which then ensures that the only cops employed are bad cops. Next step after these laws are passed will be “lawfare” – endless people accusing cops of wrongdoing for the sake of driving people away from public service. If you want to see what that looks like, look at what Lotto-esque paydays have done to Boy Scouts or the Roman Catholic Church. (No doubt some of them are honest, but “he touched me inappropriately in the 1970s so I deserve $20 million” is starting to seem like a crock. It’s what you can get away with when the reputation of an organization is thoroughly tarnished, however.) It’s not an accident that doxxing cops and their loved ones is de rigueur now. If the crazies don’t get them, the ambulance chasers will.

What DeSantis’ legislation would do is turn #4 back on these local officials. Sovereign immunity is a power of local government entities that is provided to them in statute by the state (as states are technically considered “sovereign” entities under the US Constitution). Basically, it says that local government officials cannot be held legally responsible for bad things that happen when they are in the process of performing the duties of their office.

Much like the goal of removing limited immunity for police officers is to make it easier to sue officers as individuals and take their personal wealth, this would make it possible for residents who, for whatever reason, need aid but cannot receive it because the city cut funding to police to sue the officials responsible for that situation. Thus, you could go after the mayor’s and city council members’ personal wealth. It is legal karma of a sort. If you defund the police and someone gets hurt, that someone is eligible to personally bankrupt you.

Most of the rioting that I know of in Florida has been confined to the “bluest” regions – Miami and Tampa. There have been rallies in other places, but those are the places where it has really gotten out of control (and even that’s nothing like what is happening in other states).

This is a video from a restaurant in St. Petersburg, a city just outside of Tampa. (Our family briefly considered relocating to St. Petersburg, but quickly decided against it when we saw images of businesses trashed by rioters. We chose reliably conservative and calm Fort Myers instead.) I think it is special how the Antifa and BLM pussies always pick elderly people to harass. So tough!

I think this sums it up nicely:

“For everyone across the United States today, this is what leadership looks like,” Judd said, acknowledging the governor standing behind him. “This is a state where you want to come on vacation. This is a state where you want to grow your business and this is a state where you’re safe because, after all, if you’re not safe, your children’s not safe and you don’t feel safe, then you can’t prosper.”

Indeed, I hope this becomes model legislation for other states. This nonsense needs to end.

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