Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is working to expand the state’s Stand Your Ground law with “anti-mob” legislation that would allow citizens to shoot suspected looters.
DeSantis drafted the “anti-mob legislation,” according to the Miami Herald, following months of looting and rioting stemming from anti-police protests over the death of George Floyd and other similar deaths. Armed citizens would be able to shoot suspected looters or anyone who engages in “criminal mischief” that disrupts a business.
The legislation would work to prevent “violent and disorderly assemblies” and expand “forcible felonies” under Florida’s self-defense law by allowing the use of force on those whose violence leads to the “interruption or impairment” of a business and looting, according to the Miami Herald.
The law would reportedly also give immunity to drivers who unintentionally hurt or kill protesters blocking traffic, and it would make protests that disrupt the community by blocking traffic a third-degree felony.
The move comes after DeSantis, a Republican, pledged in September to crack down on those spreading violence during protests.
“Recently, in our country, we have seen attacks on law enforcement. We’ve seen disorder and tumult in many cities,” DeSantis said at the time.
The draft has been met with resistance from some lawyers in the state.
“It allows for vigilantes to justify their actions,” said Denise Georges, a former Miami-Dade County prosecutor who handled Stand Your Ground cases. “It also allows for death to be the punishment for a property crime — and that is cruel and unusual punishment. We cannot live in a lawless society where taking a life is done so casually and recklessly.”