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Florida sheriff uses pictures to help confused press: 'This is a peaceful protest. This is a riot.'
screenshot via WFLA News

Florida sheriff uses pictures to help confused press: 'This is a peaceful protest. This is a riot.'

'I can tell you folks so that there's no misunderstanding today'

As TheBlaze has frequently documented, sometimes the media have difficulty distinguishing between peaceful protests and destructive riots. Well, one Florida sheriff decided to provide a visual aid for members of the press who can't seem to tell the difference.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd on Monday held up photos contrasting a peaceful protest with a violent riot at a news conference announcing new anti-riot legislation.

"I can tell you folks so that there's no misunderstanding today," Sheriff Judd said as he held the photos. "This is a peaceful protest. This is a riot. We can tell the difference. The governor can tell the difference. Our law enforcement officers can tell the difference."

"In the event you didn't get that, let me show you something," the sheriff continued, holding up two more photos. "This is peaceful protest. This is looting. If you loot, the next thing you can try to steal is something off of your food tray at the county jail because you're going to jail, that's a guarantee. And we're going to enjoy taking you down there."

Judd then held up two more photos for the "slow learners."

"This is peaceful protest. This is violence. It's not acceptable."

"I truly believe in our God-given right and our constitutional right to speak openly and freely to address our government. That's important. We listen every day. But I've also watched across this country when law enforcement officers who put their life on the line were told to stand down," Judd continued.

Judd spoke at a news conference held by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) announcing new anti-riot legislation that will be introduced in the state legislature this upcoming session. The "Combating Violence, Disorder, and Looting and Law Enforcement Protection Act" will make participation in a violent demonstration a felony and also will protect fleeing motorists from any liability for causing injury or death to mob members while they attempt to drive away for safety.

Additionally, the bill increases penalties for toppling monuments, criminalizes disorderly assemblies harassing civilians at restaurants, and targets funders and organizers of violent riots with state RICO charges.

"If you are involved in a violent or disorderly assembly and you harm somebody, if you throw a brick and hit a police officer, you're going to jail, and there's going to be a mandatory minimum jail sentence of at least six months for anyone who strikes a police officer, either with a weapon or projectile. And we're also not going to simply let people back out on the street," DeSantis said. "So if you are in custody for one of these offenses relating to a violent or disorderly assembly, you're not getting bail before your first appearance."

"If you are from another state and you come to participate in one of these violent or disorderly assemblies, you're going to have extra penalties imposed on you as well," DeSantis added.

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