Florida Supreme Court hears arguments on protest law amid allegations of targeting Black activists

Share
James Tysse at the Florida Supreme Court, 10/4/23 // Credit: Florida Supreme Court Youtube

Listen:

On Wednesday, the Florida Supreme Court heard arguments in a challenge to a 2021 law that enhanced penalties and created new crimes during protests that turn violent.

Groups including the Dream Defenders and NAACP argue that the law was enacted seemingly in response to the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests.

The parties agree that the Court should read HB 1 not to criminalize the mere act of attending a protest where others behave violently.

But according to today’s trial, they have very different views on how that should happen.

Nicholas J.P. Meros represents Governor Ron DeSantis.

“They’re understandably concerned that their members might be at a protest that either is violent or becomes violent, but they’re not participating in that violence, and they’re worried that they can be swept under that, which is understandable. But the ‘willfully participating’ aspect does a lot of that work. It shows not only do they have to be joining in the protest, but they have to know that there’s violence in the protest, and they have to be willfully and intentionally joining in that violence.”

But, the groups challenging the state over the law argue that it violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments. The ACLU argues that the law targets Black protestors and their allies who demand racial justice and has already slowed protest activity among Black organizers in Florida.

James Tysse represents the plaintiffs.

“I try to provide context exactly for why we’re here in the first place. This was a good-faith concern on the part of our clients. I think my friend on the other side said it’s understandable, for my clients to have these concerns”

The case is still open.

You may also like

Local Candidates Prepare For The Primary Election

Walt Bizzy reports on systemic challenges to Florida Frontline communities....

Woman in black suit with black hair speaking behind a podium.
U.S. House votes down resolution to hold Garland in contempt

The U.S. House voted down the resolution to hold Attorney...

Tampa releases Heat Resiliency plan amid record temps

Listen: If you’ve walked outside recently, then you’ve felt the...

woman spinning a shark-themed wheel at a festival
Top 5 weekend activities in Tampa Bay

SharkCon 10 Florida State Fairgrounds Expo Hall 4800 US-301, Tampa...

Ways to listen

WMNF is listener-supported. That means we don't advertise like a commercial station, and we're not part of a university.

Ways to support

WMNF volunteers have fun providing a variety of needed services to keep your community radio station alive and kickin'.

Follow us on Instagram

Colors of Jazz
Player position: