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Black attorney sues over Florida’s new ‘anti-riot’ law calling it unconstitutional

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A task force created by a black attorney to combat so-called “racial injustice” has filed a federal lawsuit against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s anti-riot bill.

Signed into law Monday, the bill ups the penalties for criminal actions committed during what regular people call a riot but leftists believe are actually “peaceful protests.”

Members of the Lawyers Matter Task Force, a nonprofit founded last year by Shannon Ligon, an attorney who was involved in Trayvon Martin’s case, fall into the latter camp.

In a federal lawsuit filed in Orlando on Wednesday, they accused DeSantis of trying to “arrest the peaceful expression of free speech,” according to the Miami Herald.

The bill “is a horrendous injustice to Florida citizens and infringes on multiple constitutional rights,” Ligon reportedly claimed in a prepared statement.

(Video: WFLA)

The measures contained with it “target protected speech under the First Amendment” and “retaliate against” rioters by imposing “excessive bail, fines, or cruel and unusual punishment as a means of hindering the speech of dissenting opinions,” the lawsuit itself reportedly reads.

It adds that the bill “unconstitutionally threatens to impose liability on individuals expressing their rights to free speech regardless of their intent to incite violence, the likelihood that their speech will result in violence, or the imminence of the intended violence.”

The lawsuit was written and submitted by attorney Aaron Carter Bates.

“The purpose of these laws are nothing more than an attempt to silence the Black Lives Matter movement and other civil organizations by limiting the ability to protest. The First Amendment is a pillar of American democracy, and the anti-riot laws clearly strip Floridians of their freedom of speech and right to assemble,” Bates said in his own statement.

But the bill has nothing to do with people genuinely peacefully protesting and expressing their voices. Rather, it targets people who resort to demonstrably violent, illegal behavior while in the process of so-called “protesting.”

This behavior includes destroying memorials and monuments, blocking roadways, assaulting police officers, vandalizing businesses and even doxxing political opponents.

The left has tried to portray some of these behaviors, including blocking roadways, as legitimate forms of protest. Are they, though?

During an anti-Trump “protest” in 2017, a critically ill Connecticut patient had to have an emergency operation performed on him in an ambulance because the so-called “protesters” had blocked the road leading to the hospital.

DeSantis has vowed to not allow such a travesty to occur in his state.

“In Florida, we are taking an unapologetic stand for the rule of law and public safety. We are holding those who incite violence in our communities accountable, supporting our law enforcement officers who risk their lives every day to keep us safe and protecting Floridians from the chaos of mob violence,” he said in a statement upon the signing earlier this week of the anti-riot legislation.

“We’re also putting an end to the bullying and intimidation tactics of the radical left by criminalizing doxing and requiring restitution for damaging memorials and monuments by rioters. I am proud to sign this bill into law and appreciate the diligence of our elected leaders in the state legislature,” he added.

In the lawsuit, Bates also claims that DeSantis’s bill forced the Lawyers Matter Task Force nonprofit to cancel an upcoming “protest” meant to honor deceased Minneapolis criminal suspect George Floyd.

The bill “effectively barred plaintiffs from exercising their free speech rights because of the resulting penalty of arrest,” the lawsuit reportedly reads.

It continues by complaining that,  had the group gone through with their planned protest, it could have been “characterized as a ‘riot’ due solely on the misconduct of one or two individuals — without any intent by plaintiffs.”

The group seems to believe that so-called “peaceful protesters” shouldn’t be held accountable if only some of them commit acts of violence.

It’s this same thinking that inspired news media outlets to champion last year’s Black Lives Matter riots as “peaceful protests” even when the evidence of violence and destruction was literally right in front of their very eyes:

Incidentally, the same activists who believe that all protesters shouldn’t be judged by the actions of some rioters think that all cops should be judged by the actions of some bad cops …

According to Central Florida station News 13, the Lawyers Matter task Force was launched last year by Ligon so that layers could try “to be the instruments of change” vis-a-vis combating so-called “racial justice.”

“Ligon says she first understood how crucial attorneys are after being involved in the Trayvon Martin case. She also speaks regularly with Attorney Benjamin Crump, who represents George Floyd’s family. She says support within the African American attorney community is crucial, especially during this time,” News 13 reported at the time.

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Vivek Saxena
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