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Democrats Say Anti-Protest Bill Would Disproportionately Harm Minorities

America Protests Florida
Lynne Sladky
/
AP
People hold a sign reading "Lock Up All 4", referring to the police officers involved in the case of George Floyd during a police escorted funeral procession organized by the COOL Church to symbolize a day of mourning for those lives lost due to systemic racism, Wednesday, June 3, 2020, in Miramar, Fla. The protest is in conjunction with protests held throughout the country over the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on May 25.

Governor Ron DeSantis is pointing to the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol as a reason for harsher penalties for protesters who damage property or harm others. The event reignited discussions surrounding the legislation that DeSantis first floated during Black Lives Matter protests this summer. But Sen. Perry Thurston (D-Ft. Lauderdale) maintains the legislature has more important priorities to address.

“This bill is beneath the Florida Legislature. We should not be addressing it. We should focus our limited time on unemployment compensation, people being evicted, utility bills those are the things we need to address," said Thurston.

Thurston worries the proposal would disproportionately impact Black people and people of color.

A study by the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project found that across the US nearly 10 percent of Black Lives Matter demonstrations were met with government intervention, compared to 3 percent for all other demonstrations.