The act of ramming a car into a crowd is now a protected right in the state of Florida. If you can’t believe this please read on. A new law passed this week makes three or more people together considered a “riot” if they’re blocking a street and it “frightens” the driver. In this circumstance, you can plow into them with your car and receive protection from the state and police.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis this week signed into law his anti-protest bill apparently aimed at Black Lives Matter protesters. At least, we assume that seeing as there are two distinct Ku Klux Klan groups and over 60 hate groups listed for decades centered in Florida. In all of these years, the state has not seen a need for this type of legislation. This, and DeSantis said at the press conference after signing the law, “We’re not going to end up like Portland.”
The car ramming bill is called the “Combatting Public Disorder Bill”
This is in reference to rioting that happened there, after protests erupted worldwide over the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota in May 2020. The bill is called the “Combatting Public Disorder Bill,” or HB1. It partly revolves around the ability to ram your car into protesters and not face charges.
DeSantis’ law gives civil immunity to anyone who drives their car or truck into a crowd of protesters. So it protects drivers from being sued for damages if someone gets killed or hurt. The driver can claim self-defense and the law protects him or her from civil charges, though the driver could possibly still face criminal charges.
Ramming cars into protesters has become a thing in recent years
Driving cars into protesters has become a thing in recent years. From May through October 2020, over 100 incidents of drivers plowing into protesters occurred. This was compiled by Ari Weil who is a terrorism researcher at the University of Chicago Project on Security and Threats.
It was found that over half of these incidents were intentional, not accidental. Breaking these down by state, over eight were found to have occurred in Florida. Among these was an incident in Gainesville, where a man plowed into protestors. He then pointed a gun at them. Another such incident in Tallahassee happened when a man gunned his pickup into protesters.
A person in New York aimed for and hit a protester with his car
This also brings to mind the well-publicized incident that happened in 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia, where a white supremacist plowed his Dodge Challenger into counterprotesters. He killed Heather Heyer while injuring several other protesters. Last September a person in New York aimed for and hit a Black Lives Matter protester with his car.
DeSantis never talked about protecting lives but rather focussed on the inconvenience to drivers. “We also have penalties for people who commandeer highways,” said DeSantis. “You’re driving home from work and all a sudden you have people out there shutting down a highway. There needs to be swift penalties. That just cannot be something that can happen.”