Sky Lebron / WJCT News

Calling it unconstitutionally “vague and overbroad,” Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Walker on Thursday blocked a controversial state law that enhances penalties and creates new crimes in protests that turn violent.

Fla. Gov. Ron DeSantis and others after signing HB 1, often referred to as the 'anti-riot' bill, into law.
The Office of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis

Civil-rights attorneys are challenging a new set of state laws that establish a crime of “mob intimidation” and enhance penalties for riot-related violence and looting, arguing in a federal lawsuit that the measures unconstitutionally “seek to arrest the peaceful expression of free speech.”

Huge American flag covering the courthouse, while there are protesters below it with Black lives matter signs, among other signs. All of them have masks on.
Sky Lebron / WJCT News

A new anti-riot law from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has created harsher penalties for people arrested during protests, but civil rights activists in Jacksonville say that won’t stop their demonstrations. 

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has approved a bill he says will curb violence and property damage during protests. It’s a response to last summer’s protests following the death of George Floyd and calls to defund the police. DeSantis signed off on the measure Monday at a press conference in Polk County—the same place where he first introduced the proposal seven months ago.

DeSantis was flanked by local law enforcement, House Speaker Chris Sprowls, and Senate President Wilton Simpson—the same group who stood by him in September when he introduced his public disorder bill.

As tensions mount after months of protests against police violence and racial injustice, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman on Tuesday urged protesters to leave their weapons at home and called on all sides to stay calm.

“It's incumbent on everyone, from the President of the United States to those protesting to mayors, to turn the temperature down. Turn it down,” Kriseman said at a press conference outside Pinellas Ale Works.

Protests in St. Petersburg over the past several months have been mainly peaceful.

Gov. Ron DeSantis
The Florida Channel

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Monday he is proposing legislation that would cut off state grant funding to local governments that "slash" law enforcement budgets, as part a bigger plan aimed at curbing violent protests.

Black Lives Matter activists will be protesting this weekend in New Port Richey. They've been demonstrating there on a regular basis for months, but tensions have escalated recently with counterprotesters, including some white supremacist groups.

During a recent protest in the city’s downtown last Friday night, Black Lives Matter supporters marched along the sidewalk chanting the names of Black people killed by police officers like George Floyd, and they echoed his dying words, “I can’t breathe.”

JSO Releases Bodycam Video From May Protests In Jacksonville

Sep 10, 2020
Jacksonville Sheriff's Office / Via News4Jax

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office has released body camera footage from protests during the last weekend in May.

Protesters in front of the protest holding Black
Sky Lebron / WJCT News

On Thursday morning in Macclenny, a group of around 25 protesters peacefully marched from a park to the Baker County Courthouse, calling for change in the largely rural county. 

Dennis speaking with a mic in his hand in front of the doors of city hall, right in front of the doors are a bunch of elected officials, including city council people and state officials.
Sky Lebron / WJCT News

A little over half the members of Jacksonville’s City Council, Duval Public Schools administration, and Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried took part in a solidarity walk beginning at City Hall on Sunday morning. 

Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams speaking at a podium alongside Mayor Lenny Curry, curtain in the background, next to some damage images from the protest
Sky Lebron / WJCT News

Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams held a media conference Tuesday afternoon alongside Mayor Lenny Curry to address the protests that have taken place the last three days.

Huge American flag covering the courthouse, while there are protesters below it with Black lives matter signs, among other signs. All of them have masks on.
Sky Lebron / WJCT News

Protests resumed Sunday outside the Duval County Courthouse.  

Narrow streets and high congestion in St. Augustine’s historic district continue to contribute to tensions felt between street artists and the city, which wants to limit their performances.

Friday on First Coast Connect, our weekly Media Roundtable. Our panel included Folio Weekly editor Claire Goforth, Florida Times-Union reporter David Bauerlein, blogger Fred Mathews and WJCT business analyst John Burr. We also spoke Jacksonville Library director Barbara Gubbin about the this year’s Jax Reads initiative with the book “The Namesake.” Dr. Amy Pollak from the Mayo Clinic and heart attack survivor Kathy Ellis talked about Go Red for Women Day, as part of Heart Disease Awareness Month and we met Kim Brown, head coach of the newly formed Jacksonville professional female football team the North Florida Pumas.


Ryan Benk / WJCT News

Republican Florida Senator Marco Rubio is getting pushback from some Jacksonville voters for what they say is weak opposition to President Donald Trump.

Ryan Benk / WJCT News

Thousands of tourists flocked to St. Augustine this week to celebrate the founding of America’s oldest city. But one group at the ceremonies was calling for an end to the revelry. Indigenous protesters say the anniversary is a painful memory that’s too often forgotten by the masses.

Protesters Gather In Support Of Jax 19

Mar 10, 2015
Denise Cox / WJCT

Protesters gathered outside the Jacksonville Courthouse on Tuesday demanding the charges against the Jax 19 be dropped.

The group was originally arrested in December after they stopped traffic on the Hart Bridge during rush hour traffic protesting what they called “brutality against blacks,” stemming from the shooting of Michael Brown and the death of Eric Garner.

Peter Haden / WJCT

Protesters who held up traffic on the Hart Bridge last month had their first court appearances today at the Duval County Courthouse. Supporters rallied outside, calling on State Attorney Angela Corey to drop their charges.

The Dec. 8 protest was to demand justice for Eric Garner, who died after a New York City policeman put him in a chokehold during an arrest.

Members of the Jacksonville Progressive Coalition were among those at the courthouse. Member Joseph Willis says the actions of the so-called “Jax 19” protestors should be viewed in a larger context.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Sam Scavella, Verizon, and Brent Greer are in the headlines today.

Florida Governor Rick Scott is criticizing Reverend Jesse Jackson over remarks he made while joining a Capitol protest Tuesday. Jackson made his remarks while calling for a repeal of the state’s Stand Your Ground law.

Jackson says he believes Governor Rick Scott will change his views on Florida’s Stand Your Ground law just as former Alabama Governor George Wallace changed his mind about segregation following the many civil rights protests in Alabama in the 1960s.