JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The civil rights attorneys are challenging a series of new state laws that will re-define and increase the riot plan penalties in order to obtain an injunction to prevent the measures from staying in place.
The so-called anti-riot law, entitled Combating Public Disorder, was passed by Republican lawmakers despite objections from Democrats and civil rights groups. It was incorporated into law by Governor Ron DeSantis on Monday.
Two days later, civil rights attorneys filed a federal lawsuit calling the legislation “unconstitutional”.
“At first glance, it is the most blatantly unconstitutional document I have ever seen,” said Aaron Carter Bates, attorney for the Lawyers Matter Task Force, the group of civil rights attorneys who brought the lawsuit.
The lawsuit alleges that the statutes “retaliate against” protesters “with excessive bail, fines, or cruel and unusual punishment to prevent dissenting opinions.
Bates and other critics of the law say the definition of turmoil in the legislation is too broad and open to interpretation.
“If we all demonstrated under the law for higher teacher wages and a madman walked into the crowd and dropped a Molotov cocktail, we’d all be hooked as members of a riot for this act of violence,” Bates said. “People need to understand the implications of this bill.”
The legislation was originally introduced by MP Juan Fernandez-Barquin with strong support from DeSantis.
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