BRADENTON, Fla. — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday renewed his push to crack down on violent protesters and rioters following a deadly breach at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.
Speaking at a new COVID-19 vaccination site in Bradenton, DeSantis called Wednesday's attack "totally unacceptable."
"What you saw yesterday was a good example of taking a rally and having certain views, and then going in to storm the Capitol like was done is totally unacceptable," DeSantis said. "Those folks needs to be held accountable."
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DeSantis is hoping that accountability and punishment will eventually come from the Combating Violence, Disorder, and Looting and Law Enforcement Protection Act, which the governor first proposed back in September.
If approved by the Florida Legislature, the bill would make it a third-degree felony if you take part in a violent or disorderly assembly.
In addition, you could be charged with a felony if you "incapacitate" roadways, destroy or topple public property, or harass innocent people during protests.
Anyone who strikes a police officer during a rally could face a mandatory minimum jail sentence of at least six months and won't be granted bail before their first appearance in court.
Finally, there will be enhanced penalties for people who throw objects or assault law enforcement officers during assemblies.
"It doesn't matter what banner you're flying under. The violence is wrong, the rioting and the disorder is wrong. We're not gonna tolerate it in Florida," DeSantis said.
The governor is hoping Wednesday's unrest at the U.S. Capitol will help his legislation gain more support, calling it "something that needs to be done."
"You could have strong views, you can be disappointed in an election, you can be disappointed in whatever. But you can't just go in and ransack public places like that," DeSantis said. "The minute that that crosses over, I think there needs to be penalties."
Overnight Thursday, President-elect Joe Biden’s victory was officially confirmed during a joint session of Congress.