Ron DeSantis dismisses anti-riot bill criticism as ‘wild accusations’
Gov. Ron DeSantis

Fox chyron said "FL Dems slander DeSantis over anti-riot law"

Gov. Ron DeSantis addressed national media on the Fox News Channel Tuesday night in the wake of the guilty verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial.

DeSantis, who signed off on the controversial “anti-riot” bill HB 1 as closing arguments were made in the trial of the Minneapolis police officer, had alluded to the trial during the signing ceremony.

On the Ingraham Angle, he was able to defend the bill further, responding to selectively-edited critiques from state Sen. Shevrin Jones that DeSantis had “just declared war on the First Amendment in the state of Florida.” The chyrons below his words contended that the words were an example of Democratic “slander” against DeSantis, and that Democrats were “outraged that new law makes it harder to riot.”

DeSantis was non-plussed, discussing the deceptively edited footage in a larger context of so-called “wild accusations” and dismissing claims that the bill is an assault on the First Amendment.

“Not at all. If you’re throwing a brick at a law enforcement officer’s head, which many people were doing over the summer, that has nothing to do with the First Amendment. If you break into a store and damage someone’s property, steal someone’s property, that doesn’t have anything to do with the First Amendment. If you have a mob of people descend on an innocent civilian, and intimidate and harass them, that has nothing to do with the First Amendment,” DeSantis said.

“I think that this was a really necessary piece of legislation. And look, if you oppose this legislation, that means you want local governments to be able to defund police. You want local governments to be able to have no consequences if they allow people to be harmed and don’t have police there. It means you don’t want strong penalties for engaging in violent activities.”

“And so, we got it right and you know sometimes when you get the criticism, you know you’re over the target when they start launching wild accusations,” DeSantis said, after responding to a selectively edited quote.

Ingraham quoted Jones correctly here: “Our response to injustices in this country is protests, but their response is to criminalize it when their recourse for us is to turn to the streets, to make our voices heard in this unjust system. Governor DeSantis’s actions today goes to show that he’s not concerned about the lives of Black and Brown people….”

But she cut off much of the rest of the quote before jumping to the assertion that DeSantis had “declared war.” Those people, said Jones, “who so happened to be citizens of this diverse state that many of us call home.”

“He ignored us today, and our cries from the Senate floor and also from the House floor. If he was concerned, he would have addressed the killings of Black men by the hands of police officers. If he was concerned, he would have addressed and acknowledged the gun violence that’s running rampant in communities across this state,” said Sen. Jones, via CBS Miami.

Jones added more comments on DeSantis’ purported motivations in the same press conference: “He made it clear that he was setting the stage for what may happen if Derek Chauvin is acquitted for murdering George Floyd. Here’s what I won’t do. I will not compromise bipartisanship for injustice. Our ancestors and our parents fought hard for us not to have to repeat this moment and I refuse to sit here and play pattycake with a group of people who will acknowledge that 80% of the people who sit in our jails look like me. Who will acknowledge the fact that when we get pulled over, we get questioned on ‘Whose car is this? Are you supposed to be here?’ If the Jim Crow era didn’t teach us one thing, it taught us that this is a long game.

Sen. Jones addressed the misrepresentation in comments Wednesday morning.

“Fox News has shown themselves time and time again that they don’t want to be apart of ANY solution, so they spend time misconstruing my words to fit their narrative. Ingraham Angle calls “being woke” propaganda, and she calls BLM a hate group, so of course she nor the network desire to showcase truth. I”ll remind Gov DeSantis that he represents 22 million people in the State of Florida, and that includes black people, so he should act like it, even on national TV,”  he told Florida Politics.

The bill is one of the Governor’s signature pieces of legislation this Session. HB 1 stiffens penalties against violent protest, including so-called “mob intimidation.” It requires those arrested for street violence to stay in jail until first appearance and protects police budgets from cuts by allowing local lawmakers and state attorneys to appeal proposed reductions to the Governor and his Cabinet in the form of the state Administration Commission.

The showcase legislation, introduced on the day of the U.S. Capitol riots, was in fact conceptually floated amid “defund the police” protests in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd last summer.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • trump lost

    April 21, 2021 at 7:13 am

    Fox News a biased media outlet pushing a political angle to serve their shrinking market share. Check!

    The Florida trumplican party, being led by DeSantis, creating redundant laws that stifle the First Adm. and takes power away from the people, all to appease a self-serving political opinion. Check!

  • Seber Newsome III

    April 21, 2021 at 7:38 am

    Great Bill, Governor DeSantis. You are a strong leader. Those who like to protest and intimidate hate this bill. Deo Vindice

    • Bonnie moale

      April 21, 2021 at 8:01 am

      Great response

  • James Robert Miles

    April 21, 2021 at 8:27 am

    When all you GOP minions finally realize that your party is chipping away at your Constitutional rights it will probably be too late and you deserve what you will get. DeSatan doesn’t have a clue and is the worst Governor in Florida history! ANYBODY but DeSatan in 2022!!

  • Frankie M.

    April 21, 2021 at 9:22 am

    “And look, if you oppose this legislation, that means you want local governments to be able to defund police.”

    The ol’ “you’re either with us or against us” tag line. Sounds like somebody’s been playing that Jump to Conclusions board game again. Shocking that fox news would pull a 60 minutes I know.

  • PeterH

    April 21, 2021 at 10:49 am

    Republicans are always in search of problems that do not exist. When was the last mass riot in Florida?

Comments are closed.


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