A lawyer who dressed up as the Grim Reaper to warn against the risks of opening Florida's beaches is now facing possible sanctions from the state's governor

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  • Attorneys for the Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis have called for sanctions against lawyer Daniel Uhlfelder, who sued the governor over his response to COVID-19. 
  • Uhlfelder made headlines earlier this year for going to Florida beaches dressed as the Grim Reaper to encourage people to stay home. He said DeSantis didn’t do enough to protect the state’s residents from COVID-19.
  • His lawsuit calling for a stay-at-home order and a mask mandate was dismissed in court. 
  • In court papers filed on Friday, attorneys for DeSantis said Uhlfelder’s lawsuit was “empty political posturing” that “warrants repercussions.”
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Attorneys for the Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis have called for sanctions against a lawyer who sued the state’s highest government official over his relaxed response to COVID-19.

Daniel Uhlfelder, who in May dressed up as a Grim Reaper to warn people against going to the beach during the pandemic, told Insider he believes the sanctions request was made because he’s an “outspoken critic” of DeSantis’ COVID-19 response.

“They want to sanction me for trying to save lives,” he said. “If he did his job I wouldn’t have to sue him.”

Uhlfelder filed a lawsuit against DeSantis in March calling for the Florida government to use restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 after the governor opted not to shut down the state as the pandemic began to spread across the US.

Florida has recorded more than 1.1 million COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began, and 20,000 deaths from the virus.

For much of the pandemic, DeSantis avoided issuing mask mandates and stay-at-home orders. He issued one temporary “safer at home” order which encouraged people to limit their movement outside of their homes, but largely left restrictions up to local governments.

A judge rejected Uhlfelder’s lawsuit over DeSantis’ COVID-19 response on April 9, though according to The Washington Post, the judge encouraged Uhlfelder to appeal the ruling to a higher court.

Uhlfelder appealed on April 9, but the case was again dismissed on November 13.

On Friday attorneys for DeSantis called Uhlfelder’s activities “empty political posturing” that “warrants repercussions.”

The court has not yet made a decision on whether or not to sanction Uhlfelder.

DeSantis, meanwhile, was recently seen attending a football game in a mostly maskless crowd with his family and it was revealed that he still plans to host a holiday reception for state legislatures.

In an interview with Insider, Uhlfelder criticized actions taken against him and Rebekah Jones, a fired Florida Health Department data scientist whose home was raided by police after accusing officials of mishandling the pandemic.

“What [DeSantis] is doing appears to be attempting to scare people who are critical of him, and I’m not going away,” he said. “It’s a bullying tactic, and I’m not going to be bullied.”

DeSantis did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

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