TAMPA (CW44 News at 10) – Tampa Mayor Jane Castor and Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan led a press conference recapping the peaceful protests that devolved into violence. Thaddeus Bullard, more commonly known as WWE superstar, Titus O’Neil closed the conference with a plea to end the violence, “Enough is enough! You can’t clean up somebody else’s house if your own house is dirty.”
On June 2, a protest group of close to 200 people gathered at Tampa City Hall
at 4:00 PM. The crowd remained for approximately an hour and a half before
marching from downtown to the Fox 13 television station at 3213 W. Kennedy
Blvd. Tampa Police officers blocked traffic to ensure the marching protesters
stayed safe. The group stopped at the Fox 13 property to give speeches.
At 6:00 PM, a second protest started at Herman Massey Park and marched to meet
up with the previously listed group of protesters. The two groups came
together in front of Fox 13, and subsequently marched back downtown. Once
again, Tampa Police officers assisted with traffic control to get the group
safely back to downtown.
The crowd ultimately walked to the Franklin Manor restaurant, reportedly in
response to inflammatory social media comments made by the owner of the
establishment. The marching protesters converged with another group already
outside of the business, swelling in size to approximately 500 people.
The protest group then marched throughout the downtown area, stopping at
several locations. Protestors attempted to take over I-275 three different
times. Tampa Police officers, with the assistance of Florida Highway Patrol,
were able to block the protesters’ efforts to rush onto the interstate. At one
point, three demonstrators ran up an exit ramp of I-275, but officers quickly
stopped them before they could be injured on the interstate.
The protest traversed roughly eight (8) miles safely before some in the crowd
became violent and began throwing bricks and other items at officers near the
federal courthouse. At 10:50 PM, rocks were thrown at police cars. At 11:17
PM, bottles were thrown at police officers. As the crowd continued its march,
Tampa Police officers blocked traffic again along the Brorein Street Bridge.
Some in the crowd began climbing on top of police vehicles at the bridge.
With some in the protest becoming increasingly violent toward officers and
attempting to damage property, officers gave an official dispersal order at
11:46 p.m. to the remaining crowd of approximately 300. An object was thrown
at police officers, who then deployed CS gas and smoke to disperse the
remaining group. 64 people were ultimately taken into custody at E. Madison St
and N. Morgan St, charged with Unlawful Assembly. Four (4) people were charged
with Resisting Arrest without Violence.
Two police vehicles were damaged. A windshield was smashed on one vehicle and
a second was dented when a protester threw an object at it. One officer
sustained a minor injury. There were no reported injuries to protesters.