According to CBS 4 Miami, Black community activists and the African American Council of Christian Clergy came together on Friday to call out Governor Ron DeSantis about the selective enforcement of HB1, an anti-riot law that enhances penalties for protesting.
This law was put into effect following the Black Lives Matter movement protests after the death of George Floyd.
The official bill states that HB1 as created for “combating public disorder.”
It also stated that felony charges will be issued to protesters who willfully engage in a riot, including those who “endanger the safe movement of a vehicle traveling on a public street, highway, or roads.”
“We also have penalties for people who commandeer highways which we saw in other parts of the country,” DeSantis said.
“Just think about it, you’re driving home from work and all of a sudden, you have people out there shutting down a highway. If they start to do that there needs to be swift penalties and that’s something that just cannot happen.”
Despite this, said penalties were not applied when Cuban Americans shut down the South Florida Palmetto expressway for hours.
As previously reported on July 13, Miami protestors blocked off the Palmetto expressway in solidarity with Cuba, whose people protested the inhumane conditions in which people of the island are living in.
These protestors received no punishment despite blocking the highway and the Christian groups think the HB1 bill is selective and directed more at BLM protesters.
“We’re here today to stand in support of our Cuban family, our Hatian family that they deserve liberation, no one should live in bondage, no country, no culture no creed, no individual, and since we’re living in the land of the free we’re standing here today to say to our governor that there seems to be a double standard with the HB1 bill,” said Carl Johnson, with the 93rd Street Community Baptist Church.
However this group is taking it further than just speaking up for their concerns.
They also announced they are supporting an injunction filed against HB1 days after protestors took the highway as well as attorney David Winker’s stance that the lack of enforcement in one situation over another weakens the law.
“Governor, you made a mistake. Your words have come back to haunt you. Repeal this law and let’s admit that it’s wrong,” said David Winker.
Former state Sen. Dwight Bullard asked, “So what is it, do we not have injustice in this county and can we not protest the injustices in this country? Are you saying that the proper way to protest is only when you’re protesting another country?”