Civil Rights Leaders Denounce Passage of Floridas Anti Riot Invoice / Public Information Service

Legislators and leaders opposed to HB1, Florida’s “anti-riot” law, say it will undermine the freedoms of the First Amendment. (Pexels)

Von Trimmel Gomes, Public Intelligence – FL – Producer, Contact

April 16, 2021

TALLAHASSEE, Florida – Despite emotional statements from Democrats and civil rights groups, Florida Republican lawmakers overwhelmingly voted to pass the so-called “anti-riot” law after last summer’s racist unrest.

Governor Ron DeSantis and Republican lawmakers like Senate sponsor Danny Burgess – R-Zephyrhills – have condemned property destruction for those who march to protect blacks’ lives.

Lawyer Mutaqee Akbar, president of the Tallahassee branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Black People, said the argument was smoke protection to silence 93% of peaceful protests against police killing unarmed black people.

“There are already laws in the books that prevent people from destroying property or anything,” Akbar said. “So I’m not sure what this law will necessarily do other than send the message that they don’t care what people have been crying about.”

The bill was sped up to avoid roadblocks. A Republican, Senator Jeff Brandes of St. Petersburg, voted against the bill in the 23-17 vote.

It now goes to the governor, who will legally sign it to take effect immediately.

While some Republican lawmakers recognized the racist undertones in the bill and allowed a study of its racial impact, Akbar believes this will stifle solidarity among black and brown people and allies.

He remembered seeing firsthand when members of his family avoided the unfair consequences of showing up and talking.

“We see the pictures of the sit-ins, we see the pictures of the protests, but we have to realize that this was a minority because the majority feared what would happen to them,” Akbar said. “So I think, I’m afraid there is a shutdown of the people, of the voices.”

Among other things, the law grants civil / legal immunity to people driving by demonstrators blocking a street. It is said that detainees cannot leave bail until they first appear in court, and there is a mandatory six-month sentence on a police officer’s battery during a riot.

After the controversial law was passed, several Senators from the Democratic State held a press conference wearing black T-shirts in protest. They said they were banned from wearing the shirts by the Republican leadership during the debate because it was against the Chamber’s decency.

Quote: A so-called & amp; “Anti-riot &” The draft law is currently under consideration by Florida lawmakers.

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