ORLANDO, Fla. - An Orlando civil rights attorney has filed a federal lawsuit against the new anti-riot law signed by Governor Ron DeSantis on Monday.
"I have to believe that any rational Floridian that reads this bill and understood the consequences of the bill would be appalled," attorney Aaron Carter Bates said.
The law increases penalties for crimes committed during protests. It also creates new crimes such as "mob intimidation" and allows authorities to prevent arrested demonstrators from posting bail until after their first court date.
Bates said the law violates several constitutional amendments.
"I think Floridians need to know that there is not one thing in this bill that here is not already a law on the books to cover," Bates said.
A jewelry store owner FOX 35 spoke with disagrees with Bates’ lawsuit.
Three suspects drove a van into his store during a protest last year, leaving behind almost $200,000 dollars of damage.
"Who’s he really protecting?" Orlando Jewelers Owner Luis Arroyo said. "I know what happened to me. We were able to come back. I’m sure there are many businesses that couldn’t come back from this."
Arroyo said even though the suspects were caught on video, they were not prosecuted.
"They weren’t prosecuted because they couldn’t find the driver," Arroyo said. "Maybe they would have been prosecuted if they had this bill."
Bates filed the lawsuit on behalf of Shannon Ligon of Lawyers Matter Task Force.
"It’s overkill and there are already laws by the state of Florida that take care of burglaries and vandalism and they can prosecute them under those laws," Ligon said.
Bates said the next step is to file an injunction to get the law put on hold while his lawsuit goes through the court system. He plans to file that injunction in the next two weeks.
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