Sep 9, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Florida's "anti-riot" bill blocked by federal judge

Ron DeSantis at a press conference

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaking at a press conference. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images.

Florida's anti-riot bill was ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge Thursday.

Driving the news: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis championed the bill, which increased penalties for crimes committed during a "riot." The Republican governor has campaigned for stricter penalties against protestors following a rise in demonstrations sparked by George Floyd's death last summer.

Details: The lawsuit was filed by the Dream Defenders, NAACP Florida and Black Lives Matter Alliance Broward, among others.

What they're saying: U.S. District Judge Mark Walker called the laws "vague and overbroad" and said that the bill would make it hard for protestors to know if they are in violation of the new law.

  • "[We] are happy that the safety of Black organizers will be protected and that a person of power saw what we saw — the law is unjust," Dream Defenders press secretary Jessika Ward told Axios.
  • "We as an organization just want everyone to feel safe when they are speaking up for what is right — in this case, it’s violence against Black and brown people by the hands of police," Ward added.
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