A social justice group has just filed a lawsuit against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and others two days after the Republican lawmaker signed a bill to create tougher penalties for people who participate in violent protests.
Governor DeSantis signed an “Anti-Riot” law on Monday that’s been described as a response to the protests that have erupted across the country over the last year.
The nonprofit group Legacy Entertainment & Arts Foundation filed its lawsuit in federal court in Orlando. Their lawsuit argues that this new “Anti-Riot” law violates First Amendment protections for free speech, Eighth Amendment protections against cruel and unusual punishment, and 14th Amendment protections of due process.
“The breathtaking scope of the Bill includes granting civil immunity to people who drive into peaceful demonstrators if such demonstration blocks a road, prevents people accused of ‘rioting’ from bailing out of jail until after their first court appearance, increases penalties for assaulting law enforcement officers while engaging in a ‘riot,’ penalizing local governments that interfere with efforts to stop a ‘riot,’ and allows law enforcement agencies that face funding reductions to file objections,” the group’s complaint stated.
Critics have called the bill a racist reaction aimed at penalizing groups like “Black Lives Matter.”
Most of the protests against racial injustice in 2020 were peaceful, with only a handful erupting into serious violence. Republicans have used the violent riots on Jan. 6 at the U.S. Capitol, which was carried out by supporters of then-President Donald Trump, as an example to justify their “Anti-Riot” legislation.