Flanked by law enforcement officers, Gov. Ron DeSantis said at a news conference on Monday that he will propose a law to quash “disorderly assemblies” in Florida.
The proposal comes in reaction to nationwide demonstrations that erupted after the death of George Floyd.
“Our right to peacefully assemble is one of our most cherished as Americans, but throughout the country we’ve seen that right being taken advantage of by professional agitators, bent on sowing disorder and causing mayhem in our cities,” DeSantis said. “I will not allow this kind of violence to occur here in Florida.”
The proposal includes a six-month jail sentence for someone found guild to of striking or throwing something at a police officer. It would also make charges felonies for blocking traffic, taking down monuments, or harassing others.
Protests in South Florida over the spring and summer have largely been organized and peaceful.
Activist group Dream Defenders have retweeted comments denouncing the governor’s proposal.
Micah Kubic, executive director of the ACLU of Florida also released a statement, condemning the governor’s proposal. It read, in part:
“Gov. DeSantis' proposal is undemocratic and hostile to Americans' shared values. This effort has one goal: silence, criminalize, and penalize Floridians who want to see justice for Black lives lost to racialized violence and brutality at the hands of law enforcement.”
The legislation is expected to be filed in the next legislative session in March.