On Wednesday, October 13, the City of Tallahassee among countless other cities in Florida joined a legal challenge to the state’s “Combating Public Disorder” Law, HB1. This law creates new crimes including “mob intimidation.” It also creates penalties for blocking public streets during a peaceful assembly amid other baseless claims of rioting among citizens simply exercising their constitutional rights.
In reaction to the legal challenge to the law, Chairman Manny Diaz issued the following statement:
“The Public Disorder law is a direct infringement on our first amendment rights. DeSantis is clearly exhibiting authoritarian rule. He is working to silence peaceful protesters and disencourage them from exercising their constitutional rights of freedom of speech and peaceful assembly. This egregious law blatantly targets people of color who protest against issues such as systemic racism.
“Furthermore, this disgusting law protects drivers who can potentially kill peaceful protesters with their vehicles by allowing them affirmative defense which excuses any civil or criminal liability. Last year, this exact situation occurred in our state’s capital in Leon County: a truck plowed into a crowd of peaceful demonstrators.
“I fully support the City of Tallahassee and the many other cities in the state joining the legal challenge against this outlandish piece of legislation.
“We must continue to fight this legislation and remove elected officials such as DeSantis from office who infringe on our rights as American citizens.”