Critics of the law call it a targeting tactic by law enforcement, giving them a reason to stop and search vehicles.
It is now illegal in Florida to play music that can be heard 25 feet or more from a vehicle. The new law went into effect on July 1, 2022, and officers can conduct a traffic stop, then write a $114 ticket.
According to WSVN, too-loud sounds from vehicles near venues like churches, hospitals and schools are also illegal, but the 25-foot-rule is not applicable. Offenders would be cited for a non-moving violation.
On social media, people are calling the law a targeting tactic by law enforcement.
“This new Florida Loud Music law is just an easier excuse to pull people over and profile black men and women,” one user wrote.
A Miami-Dade police officer reportedly told a Black driver he pulled over recently, “This is how you guys get killed out here.” (Photo: AdobeStock)
“If the windows are down, low volume can be heard. This includes parked cars (so it is not about safety). Effectively, this bans people from listening to music and gives police a blank check to pull over. Where does distance start? Bad law, unreasonable,” another wrote.
Last August, a 48-year-old Black man in Memphis was shot by a white security guard over loud music at a gas station. “Alvin Motley has a right to exist, to pump gas and play his music because this is America and nobody has the right to kill a young Black man for playing music,” family attorney Ben Crump said, per NBC News. “I don’t care how loud you think it is. You do not have a right to kill a young Black man for playing music.”
The security guard — Gregory Livingston — has been charged with second-degree murder, according to Action News 5.
In November 2020, 19-year-old Aidan Ellison was shot and killed by Robert Paul Keegan, a white man in the parking lot of a hotel in Ashland, Oregon. Keegan, Fox 26 has reported, is still in jail and his nine-day murder trial is set for February 2023.
It was in Florida in 2012 that Michael Dunn shot and killed 17-year-old Jordan Davis in a parking lot during an argument over loud music. Dunn was later sentenced to life in prison without parole.
According to a blog post from Julian Johnson law firm, Black youth are more likely to be criminalized and are frequently subjected to an escalation of violence from citizens and law enforcement.
One Floridian said of the law, “You’re gonna fine me for having fun?” While another told WFLA, “To me, it looks like a money grab.”
Bartow Police Capt. William Stevens told the news outlet what many social media users already suspected: the law will give officers a reason to stop a vehicle and search it.
“Just like any other Florida state statute, it just gives another opportunity for an officer to attempt to or see if they can identify any other identifiers that would allow them to continue on with any criminal investigation.”
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