There was rioting in Miami Beach within the previous week as spring breakers vandalized property, blocked roads, and assaulted police. At least five officers were injured. One of the charged was Javon Washington, 30, confronts an array of charges as a consequence of his role in enjoying music and supporting defiance of law enforcement. I have serious reservations about some of these charges, including resisting arrest without violence (that I’ve criticized in the past as dangerously ill-defined as a criminal provision). On the second night of the 8 pm curfew, authorities faced countless folks partying in the street in South Beach. There were definitely legitimate arrests on that night as individuals destroyed property and attacked police. But, Washington’s charges appeared based on his playing audio in the spectacle. The charging papers say that he had been”observed playing music by a speaker, so enticing those around to engage in unruly behavior.” He’s accused of”enticing people to mess vehicles” and”causing subjects to make obscene gestures toward officers and taunt officers.” There appears ample evidence that he had been violating the peace, and violating the noise ordinance. Washington used what is described as a $20 speaker to operate up the crowd and to withstand authorities. There may also be evident proof of violating the curfew, but the corner of the episode is arguably outside of the curfew area. But, I’m more concerned two of those charges resisting arrest with violence and inciting a riot. I Won’t repeat my previous objections to the crime of resisting arrest without violence but it is written to allow slight movement to allow for a criminal complaint. Here is the supply:
843.02 Resisting officer without violence to his or her person.
Resisting or opposing without violence is remarkably vague and permits for prosecutors to stack on extra charges (which add strain for defendants to accept plea agreements). What makes resisting can allegedly be as small as tensing a arm or moving because restraints are being applied. That creates a dangerously liquid and subjective basis for criminal complaint, even a misdemeanor.
The most serious complaint is that the third-degree felony which may lead to up to five years . Still, the authorities charges refer ambiguously to”officers observed that the defendant enticing the crowd with audio from speakers.”
Enticing with songs? That seems a pretty dangerous foundation for a serious criminal offense of rioting. Washington made this point, however he appeared to confess to breaking curfew in a interview where he announced”I’m sorry for breaking curfew. I didn’t begin no riot. In the endI feel as though someone had to get in trouble and because I had the speaker along with also the huge issues were gonethey locked me up.”
I need to concur with Washington on the grounds of their riot charges. If the authorities have proof of Washington’s rioting, they ought to make this proof. Playing music surely can breach the serenity and gather a crowd. It’s not a component to the crime of rioting within my view.
Here are the provisions:
(1) All persons guilty of a affray shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
(2) Many persons accountable for a riot, or of inciting or encouraging a riot, will be guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
–If three or more persons meet with each other to commit a violation of the peace, or to do any other unlawful act, each of them will be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
870.03 Riots and routs. –If any men unlawfully assembled demolish, pull down or destroy, or begin to demolish, pull down or destroy, any dwelling house or other building, or some other boat or boat, each of them will be guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
Section 870.03 utilizes active verbs of demolishing, pulling down or destroying land — not creating circumstances that may or may not lead to rioting.
A similar issue could also be raised in the cases being prepared by the federal government within the January 6th riot at Congress. Federal prosecutors have used lesser charges like trespass for lots of those arrested though some have indicated an collection of sedition prices are coming.