A coalition of more than a dozen social justice groups from across the state slammed Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Tuesday during an online press conference.
The groups say that proposals DeSantis made Monday for new laws targeting protesters would “embolden police attacks and terrorize anti-racism and Black Lives Matter organizers in Florida.”
St. Petersburg’s Ashley Green, with the group Dream Defenders, says the announcement by DeSantis is an attempt to distract from his failures handling unemployment and coronavirus deaths.
“I have been attacked by a vehicle at least twice this summer while in an intersection both times. I’ve witnessed friends run over by vehicles. I’ve had friends who’ve been arrested after being run over by a vehicle.
“I can’t imagine a governor attempting to legalize vehicular manslaughter against his political opponents. But that’s not what I’m here to speak to today.
“What I’m here to speak to today is the cynical and nihilistic political stunt that Ron DeSantis offered yesterday. It cannot escape our notice that the moment that Floridians are beginning to vote, this is the moment that the governor chose to propose this legislation. A summer of reckoning, but not that we’re in the fall, he’s attacking imaginary problems. If only he had been that preemptive in addressing the coronavirus pandemic, maybe 13,000 lives wouldn’t be lost right now.”
Marlowe Calloway, with Pasco Young Revolutionaries and BLM Pasco, also spoke during what was called the #NoFLPoliceState virtual press conference. He said Florida’s governor isn’t a leader, he just follows President Trump and Attorney General William Barr.
“We that are on the front lines, we are receiving death threats. We are seeing Neo-Nazis, Proud Boys. We are seeing all these hate groups come out simply because we’re saying three things: Black Lives Matter. And particularly in Pasco County, it’s a pretty, pretty bad situation. Pasco County has had a history of systemic racism, but we have been working hard over the last four or five years to combat that.”
DeSantis wants the Legislature to subject people arrested at protests that turn violent or involve looting to face new felonies. Fleeing drivers would not be liable if they cause injury or death to protesters.
Ruth Beltran is from Sarasota and active with the Party for Socialism and Liberation and with ANSWER Suncoast. She says because of DeSantis’ proposal, the groups have announced a travel advisory warning people it’s too dangerous to come to Florida.
DeSantis said Tuesday the Republican-dominated Florida Legislature could consider it during an organizational session in November.
CAIR-Florida announced Tuesday that it objects to what it calls Governor DeSantis’ “unconstitutional order targeting anti-racism protesters.”
Listen to the 5:30 p.m. WMNF News headlines for 22 September 2020:
Listen to the 4:30 p.m. WMNF News headlines for 22 September 2020:
Listen to the 3:30 p.m. WMNF News headlines for 22 September 2020: