Tallahassee activist reacts to governor’s wide-ranging law-and-order legislative proposal

Published: Sep. 21, 2020 at 11:39 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Battle lines are being drawn following a major policy proposal Monday by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis targeting disorderly protests.

The proposed legislation, called the Combating Violence, Disorder and Looting and Law Enforcement Protection Act, is made up of three parts and includes at least eleven policy changes.

The governor made the announcement knowing he had full support from the Republican leaders of both the Florida House and Senate, who joined DeSantis at the press conference in Polk County.

Gov. DeSantis was flanked by several of uniformed law enforcement officers as well, including the Polk County Sheriff, Grady Judd, who displayed photos, showing off peaceful protesters versus what he called “riots.”

The news quickly received push back from Democrats, civil rights groups, and local activists.

Marie Rattigan is the lead organizer for Dream Defenders Tallahassee. She said Monday’s announcement was a threat to her right to free speech.

“We cannot fight for change without life-threatening repercussion,” she said. “Ron DeSantis is no lover of Democracy.”

Tallahassee has been host to several high-profile protests, including a September 5 protest which was unpermitted and ended in the arrest of over a dozen protesters.

The officials behind the governor argued there’s a difference between peaceful protests, and the looting and riots that have been captured on cameras across the country this summer.

Notably, most of the anecdotes about illegal protests took place outside of Florida.

Rattigan said her group will continue to voice their opposition no matter what laws are enacted.

“If we don’t stand against this and DeSantis decisions, there is no limit to what DeSantis will do to make sure we can never voice our disagreements again,” she said.

Copyright 2020 WCTV. All rights reserved.

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