Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a new anti-riot bill into law on Monday as violent protests threaten to grip the nation for a second year, this time under President Joe Biden, despite pledges of unity.
The Combatting Public Disorder Act, approved by the Republican legislature last week, protects funding for municipal law enforcement from the progressive efforts to “defund police” and raises penalties for demonstrators who engage in criminal conduct. Under the new law effective immediately, “riot” is defined as a group of three or more people engaging in a violent public disturbance with common intent to injure others, damage property, or pose an imminent danger of injury or damage.
“This is the strongest anti-rioting, pro-law enforcement piece of legislation in the country,” DeSantis celebrated in a signing ceremony press conference with lawmakers and police. “There’s just nothing even close.”
The law — made controversial by Democrats, who claim with routine criticism that the bill to deter the destructive Black Lives Matter rioting is racist — also opens the door for residents to sue local governments that fail to protect their communities from outbreaks of domestic terrorism. The legislation also creates a second-degree felony for those criminally culpable in riots of more than 25 people that cause significant bodily harm, create an excess of $5,000 in property damage, block roadways, or even threaten the use of a deadly weapon.
Florida lawmakers approved the legislation, with provisions first proposed by the governor last year in the aftermath of the most devastating display of political unrest to sweep the nation in decades, as another riot season gets underway in hard-hit areas still in recovery.
In the twin cities area of Minneapolis, where former police officer Derek Chauvin is standing trial for the death of George Floyd in custody, riots and rampant looting erupted after the shooting of 20-year-old Daunte Wright by law enforcement.
Scenes of chaos overnight in Brooklyn Center, Minn. as BLM-antifa rioters tried to attack the fortified police station despite the curfew that was put in place in response to mass rioting & looting the night before. Video by @realJamesKlug. #DuanteWright
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) April 13, 2021
Brooklyn Center, Minnesota….not Tehran pic.twitter.com/d538mSMg0t
— Logan Ratick (@Logan_Ratick) April 19, 2021
Other parts of the country to witness riots following Wright’s death stretched from Los Angeles to D.C. in an ominous preview of another anarchic summer.
#BLM protests and riots have been announced for Brooklyn Center, Minn., Seattle, New York City, Portland, Berkeley, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Omaha, Kansas City, Washington D.C., Fort Lee, N.J., Hoover, Alab., Fort Wayne, Ind.
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) April 12, 2021
California Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters fomented rage this weekend when she joined demonstrators in Brooklyn Center and demanded they “get more confrontational” if the Chauvin trial wrapping up this week ends in a verdict of anything but guilty.
“We are looking for a guilty verdict. … We’ve got to get more confrontational,” Waters said, speaking with a chorus of demonstrators behind her. “We’ve got to make sure that they know that we mean business.”
The jury in the Chauvin trial has not been sequestered as lawyers proceed to closing arguments.
So Rep. Maxine Waters went to the unrest in Brooklyn Center last night and told people to “stay on the streets” and “get more confrontational”
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) April 18, 2021
Hours later, two National Guardsmen sustained minor injuries from a drive-by shooting in Minneapolis.
The shooting occurred on or about 4:19 a.m., as a light-colored SUV fired several shots at an @MinnesotaOSN security team providing neighborhood security. No team members were seriously injured.
— MN National Guard (@MNNationalGuard) April 18, 2021
House Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy demanded the lower chamber take action over the California congresswoman’s remarks after Democrats stripped Georgia Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of her committee assignments for amplifying conspiracies.
Maxine Waters is inciting violence in Minneapolis — just as she has incited it in the past. If Speaker Pelosi doesn’t act against this dangerous rhetoric, I will bring action this week.
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) April 19, 2021
Greene announced she would soon introduce a resolution to expel Waters.
While Florida takes measures to deter the coming wave of political violence fomented by Democrats in Congress and elites in corporate media who inflame racial divisions, Colorado Republican Rep. Ken Buck has reintroduced anti-riot legislation at the federal level. The Blocking Rioters and Insurrectionists from our Cities to Keep us Safe (BRICKS) Act, first proposed in November, ups the maximum prison sentence for rioters.