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Courts / Law

Florida's Anti-Riot Bill Is Unconstitutional, Federal Judge Rules

Cuban protesters walking in the ran
Marta Lavandier/AP
Demonstrators walk onto the southbound Palmetto Expressway to join a large group on the northbound lanes in July 2021 in Miami.

He said the bill was an assault on First Amendment rights of free speech and assembly.

A federal judge has ruled that Florida’s new “anti-riot” law championed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis as a way to quell violent protests is unconstitutional and cannot be enforced.

The decision Thursday by U.S. District Judge Mark Walker in Tallahassee found the recently enacted law “vague and overbroad” and amounted to an assault on First Amendment rights of free speech and assembly as well as due process protections.

DeSantis can appeal the ruling.

The lawsuit was filed by the NAACP Florida conference, Dream Defenders, Black Lives Matter Alliance Broward and other groups who argued the law is intended to halt protests by Black people and other minorities.