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(ericzuesse) Florida Now Legally a Police State

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Date: Sunday, 14 April 2024

Florida Now Legally a Police State

Eric Zuesse (blogs at

On Friday, April 12th, the Florida Sun-Sentinel newspaper headlined “DeSantis signs controversial bill banning civilian boards from investigating police misconduct” and reported:

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a controversial bill Friday stripping citizen oversight boards of their power to investigate police misconduct.

The bill, HB 601, instead allows local chiefs of police agencies to create their own “civilian oversight” boards composed of three to seven members, all appointed by the chief or sheriff. But these boards can only review policies and procedures, not oversee use-of-force complaints or internal affairs investigations.

The new legislation “puts the kibosh on these extrajudicial investigations against law enforcement,” DeSantis said at a news conference at the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, describing the boards as “stacked with activists.”

The official summary of the new law says that this law is “Authorizing county sheriffs to establish civilian oversight boards to review the policies and procedures of the sheriff's office and its subdivisions; prohibiting a political subdivision from adopting or attempting to enforce certain ordinances relating to the receipt, processing, or investigation of complaints against law enforcement officers or correctional officers, or relating to civilian oversight of law enforcement agency investigations of complaints of misconduct by such officers.

In other words, the new law makes the local county sheriff the sole official who has the power to select the members of complaint review boards.That person will judge whether the compained-against officer did or did not follow the rules. The Governor who signed the bill into law, Ron DeSantis, was so popular in Florida, and nationally among Republicans, so that initially he was considered the likeliest Republican candidate to beat Donald Trump for the Republican Party’s Presidential nomination. 

The newsaper reports that as DeSantis signed the bill, he said: “You have review boards, that’s fine, but it’s got to be done in ways where you have the Sheriff or Chief of Police appointing people [to the review board]. It can’t be people that have an agenda.” In other words, he was saying that if there is a complaint in Florida about the police, then the only people who don’t have an agenda about the matter in order to evaluate and rule on the complaint are the top law-enforcement officers in that county. The employer of the law-enforcement officer who was compained about will be the only entity that will be recieving the complaint and appointing the review board who will issue the ruling on it.

The Florida State Senate, and the Florida State House of Representatives, and the Florida Governor, have assigned the state’s counties’ police officials to have the sole and exclusive power to appoint and to oversee police complaint review boards in that state.

Anyone in the state of Florida who complains against a police oficer will have to file their complaint with that police administrator. It will be like an inmate in a prison who complains against a prison guard and who can file that complaint only with the prison’s warden, who will then select the individuals that will be evaluating the complaint. If the complainant stays in that facility, then that complainant will be treated as that warden chooses to treat that person. Similarly, if a Floridian complains about the police, and stays within that county, then that person will be treated as that sheriff’s office chooses to do.

Another analogy would be if a consumer has a complaint about a retailer, manufacturer or service, and the only entity that can legally consider the complaint is that corporation’s management, which then will choose a panel to evaluate and respond to the complaint and issue a judgment on it. 


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse’s latest book, AMERICA’S EMPIRE OF EVIL: Hitler’s Posthumous Victory, and Why the Social Sciences Need to Change, is about how America took over the world after World War II in order to enslave it to U.S.-and-allied billionaires. Their cartels extract the world’s wealth by control of not only their ‘news’ media but the social ‘sciences’ — duping the public.

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