Gov. DeSantis signs bills restricting harassment, civilian oversight of cops
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. 3/8/24-Gov. Ron DeSantis talks about the close of the 2024 Legislative Session during a news conference, Friday at the Capitol in Tallahassee. COLIN HACKLEY PHOTO

'If you do that we view that as a problem and now you’re going to be held accountable.'

Civilian police review boards won’t be able to investigate complaints of misconduct for individual cops and harassing a police officer performing his or her duties will be a crime under a pair of bills signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday.

One bill, SB 184, makes it a second-degree misdemeanor to “impede or interfere” within 25 feet of a police officer or first responder engaged in their duty after a verbal warning not to approach them. Threatening an officer with physical harm and “harassing” the officer or first responder would also be a violation.

Critics of the proposal noted the term “harass” in the bill was vague and could be used to arrest and prosecute civilians videotaping police during an arrest. The video of a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on the neck of George Floyd, which led to mass protests and riots over the police treatment of African-Americans, was taken within 25 feet, for instance.

In the bill, “harass” is defined as “willfully engaging in a course of conduct directed at a first responder which intentionally causes substantial emotional distress in that first responder and serves no legitimate purpose.”

“If you do that we view that as a problem and now you’re going to be held accountable,” DeSantis said at a bill signing ceremony in St. Augustine.

The other bill, HB 601, bars civilian police review boards from conducting their own investigation into specific complaints of officer misconduct. It also requires such boards to have members appointed by local sheriffs or chiefs of police.

Rep. Wyman Duggan, a Jacksonville Republican who sponsored the bill, noted it doesn’t ban the review boards entirely.

“They can still meet, they can still talk about policy, procedure, training, culture, systemic issues,” Duggan said. “But what they cannot do is use them as a vehicle to persecute our officers, which to many of these organizations is the only utility that organization has.”

The bills passed along mostly party lines in the House, with Democrats opposed and Republicans in favor, but the votes were nearly unanimous in the Senate, with just Sen. Bobby Powell, a West Palm Beach Democrat, voting against SB 184, the police harassment protection bill.

Gray Rohrer


  • Mover Over

    April 15, 2024 at 8:58 am

    The great governor taking away more rights of Floridians and giving the police free passes to harass people holding public servants accountable.

  • KathrynA

    April 15, 2024 at 9:06 am

    What Mover Over said is so true and while the majority of police officers have integrity–there are a surprising number, who do not or who get carried away in the “heat of the moment”. We do not need a police state and I don’t mean we don’t need law enforcement–they need to be held accountable when things go wrong.

  • Biscuit

    April 15, 2024 at 4:00 pm

    “…HB 601, bars civilian police review boards from conducting their own investigation into specific complaints of officer misconduct.”

    No authoritarian “leader” worth his fascist salt would go without an HB 601.
    I believe it is time for DeSantis to hire a tailor to design and cut a nice uniform for him. But which style should he go with? Quasi- military or quasi-police? Perhaps a little of both. Yes, that would suit him just fine. A little General with a nice big shiny badge.


    April 15, 2024 at 7:01 pm

    Good evening Florida,
    The 3 Dook Commenters above have “Lost Their Minds”
    This is not what The Govornor or The Legislators wanted ….. no Florida ….. not at all. This is what The Real Bosses wanted.
    Let The Sage Earl Explain to “The 3 Little Whiney Diaper Baby Commenters Above “HOW POLITICS WORKS”
    You see, Dooks, the people of Florida vote for Representation in The Legislator. Which means, Dooks, whatever LAWS ARE PASSED are the WILL OF THE PEOPLE. Same thing with The Govornor – Whatever Laws are signed by “The Ronald” are The Will Of The People.
    Now that you 3 Above Dook Whiney Diaper Babies have been properally “SKOOLED BY EARL” I guess y’all are feeling kind of foolish.
    You now can make up for a Lifetime Of Dookness by voting the Trump/Desantis Tickit for The White House.
    You will all thank me later,
    Earl Pitts American

    • Speedy Gonzales

      April 15, 2024 at 7:06 pm

      Well thank you Senior Pitts,
      SloPoke and me thank you for esplanin how us America politics work.
      That just makes sense SG

      • Dont Say FLA

        April 16, 2024 at 7:36 am

        Arriba Arriba! Hondela Hondela! Who moves my cheesed?

    • rick whitaker

      April 15, 2024 at 7:45 pm



        April 15, 2024 at 8:17 pm

        Thanks Rick for your “Fake” Lefty Contrarian Followup, cleaverly designed to eleivate my “Political Influncer Status To New Heights” of mass readership acceptance.
        Earl & Rick …. what a team ….. together we will single handly get massive numbers of “Former Dooks” to Vote Trump” just to keep from going to H€LL.
        Thanks Rick,
        Earl Pitts American

    • rick whitaker

      April 16, 2024 at 5:30 pm

      earl, you just accused 3 people of losing their minds because they didn’t agree with you. who do you think you are, trump? earl, how does it feel to be punked out by a punk like desantis? you might as well support ross perot, he has the same chance at winning anything. earl you are a loser backing a loser for losing reasons that are bound to lose.

      • Jammie

        April 17, 2024 at 9:44 am

        I concur with Rick!
        Trump will be spending his spring & summer in a 125 year NYC Federal Court room.
        The whole world will hear about the rapest & his penis is a small pint size mushroom.
        Only losers vote for losers.
        Melania will be single by Nov.

        • rick whitaker

          April 19, 2024 at 12:18 am

          JAMMIE, that was a good one, ” only losers vote for losers “. i will have to tell that to my maga friends. WTF, i don’t have any maga friends. i don’t think maga people know how to be a friend.

  • rick whitaker

    April 15, 2024 at 10:22 pm

    EARL, if your team means warning posters of your lies, racism, and general nastiness, then i’m on board.

  • Dont Say FLA

    April 16, 2024 at 7:35 am

    Remember kids, you don’t harass cops. Cops harass you.

    Next up Apple Phone version 42, now with telephoto lens and parabolic mic.

  • Jamie

    April 17, 2024 at 9:49 am

    Earl, you wouldn’t make it in NYC.
    All your flashbacks of HS ass whippings, will put you on a different course.

    • rick whitaker

      April 17, 2024 at 2:11 pm

      JAMIE, earl couldn’t handle it in any neighborhood except a heavily trump dump. he hides behind fake id’s . his gay posing picture is on the internet. i know way more about him then he knows. he doesn’t realize how easy addresses and phone numbers are to get . i wouldn’t hurt him, but lots of people would consider it an honor to confront him on their terms. earl is a loser, what can i say.

Comments are closed.


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