Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd is one of the nation’s best, having done some truly terrific press conferences after also having done some awesome police work in locking up criminals. One of those great press conferences was about rioters, protesters, and the differences between them.
Putting the issue plainly so that even leftists that called city-scorching riots “mostly peaceful protests” could understand the difference, Sheriff Judd said:
We saw folks’ businesses burn around this nation who literally had worked their entire life and had every penny of their life savings involved. And what OUR governor said is, “That’s not happening here.” And we’re going to be proactive. And we’re going to make sure people are safe. …
Pay attention. We’ve got a new law and we’re going to use it if you make us. We’re going to protect the people. No longer will people walk up and surround you, as a citizen of Florida or a visitor of Florida, surround you while you’re eating dinner at an outdoor cafe in a big mob without there being immediate consequences and arrest. It’s not acceptable. …
We can tell the difference [between peaceful protest and violent riot]. And I’ll guarantee you that you’ll be able to tell the difference if you come here and riot.
While giving that speech, he had flashcards ready that showed the difference, providing a visual aid for those that have trouble understanding the difference. One showed people in the street, making their voices heard without causing and damage, and another showed the chaos of an inner-city riot. Watch him here:
That press conference came when Florida passed a bill taking an even tougher stance on riots in April of 2021. Speaking about the new law, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said:
“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. 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, especially Senator Stargel, Senator Burgess, Representative Fernandez-Barquin, Representative Perez and Representative Byrd, for getting this proposal to my desk so swiftly.”
Unfortunately, a woke judge halted the rollout of the anti-rioting law, as NPR reported, saying:
Florida’s new “anti-riot” law championed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis as a way to quell violent protests is unconstitutional and cannot be enforced, a federal judge ruled Thursday.
The 90-page decision by U.S. District Judge Mark Walker in Tallahassee found the recently-enacted law “vague and overbroad” and amounted to an assault on First Amendment rights of free speech and assembly as well as the Constitution’s due process protections.
People engaged in peaceful protest or innocently in the same area when a demonstration turned violent could face criminal charges and stiff penalties under the law, the judge said.
A key issue is defining what the word “riot” means in the statute. Walker noted that past Florida laws sought to prevent demonstrations that could threaten segregationist Jim Crow-era practices.
Featured image credit: screengrab from the embedded video
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