Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced proposed legislation Monday allowing the state to withhold funding from municipalities that defunded their police.
“‘Defund’ can mean many different things, but DeSantis said what will be prohibited is any municipality that singles out a law enforcement agency ‘disproportionately’ for cuts,” according to the Tampa Bay Times.
In a tweet following the press conference, the governor shared an infographic detailing the proposed Combatting Violence, Disorder and Looting and Law Enforcement Protection Act:
Today I announced bold legislation that creates new criminal offenses and increases penalties for those who target law enforcement and participate in violent or disorderly assemblies. We will always stand with our men and women in uniform who keep our communities safe. pic.twitter.com/ITl5GmmrZJ
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) September 21, 2020
It was the “boldest and most comprehensive piece of legislation to address these issues anywhere in the country,” the governor said:
We are going to impose criminal penalties for violent or disorderly assemblies. That’ll be a third degree felony. We will also require a felony if you incapacitate any of the roadways. We see people take over interstates. That is absolutely hazardous. It’s not fair to motorists who may get caught up in that. So, that will be unacceptable.
Also, we have a prohibition on destroying or toppling any type of public property, including monuments. That’s not the way to go about it and we will hold you accountable. Also have a prohibition on harassing innocent people in public accomodations. You see these videos of these innocent people eating dinner and you have these crazed lunatics just screaming at them and intimidating them on a public accomodation. You’re not gonna do that here in the state of Florida.
In attendance was Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd, who thanked DeSantis for standing behind law enforcement officers.
“You have no idea, governor … how proud we are of you just being here and saying we’re going to introduce this legislation, just being here and saying you’re going to support us,” he commented.
DeSantis also said officials would use RICO liability against “anyone who organizes or funds a violent or disorderly assembly.”
“If you look at some of the people who’ve been involved in this violence, these are people that will come from all across the country. If there’s any type of issue, they all of a sudden show up in all these places,” he said.
“We’re gonna figure out who’s organizing and who’s funding that and hold them accountable,” DeSantis explained, adding that there must be clear and predictable penalties.