TAMPA, Fla. — Eleven people face felonies following the civil unrest that transpired the nights of May 30 and 31. Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren announced he'd filed this first set of felony charges Thursday.
The 11 people are charged with a total of 15 felony crimes, including burglary, rioting, battery on a law enforcement officer and cocaine possession.
"We’re starting to get the first series of cases from people who’ve been causing that destruction and violence in our community charged so we can start the process of prosecuting people to hold them accountable for their crimes," said Warren.
Authorities say the defendants are accused of actively looting or trying to break into several businesses in the Hillsborough Avenue and University areas of Tampa and Temple Terrace.
The video was released last week of looters overtaking a Walmart and CVS in that area.
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“If you’re out to peacefully protest, you can expect support from our community," said Warren. "But if you’re out to hurt, destroy, or steal—you can expect to be held accountable under the law."
Badar Unnisa's salon had been closed for almost two months because of COVID-19. Shortly after she reopened, she says looters hit her business, leaving behind thousands of dollars in damage.
She needed to close again for several days after the unrest.
"Please don’t hurt others. If you’re doing this, you’re not hurting one person. You’re hurting a whole community," said Unnisa. "We’ve been affected very badly from coronavirus and then this all happened, so please don’t do this to anybody else.”
More charges are expected against others as the State Attorney’s Office continues to review the evidence and more than 130 arrest reports gathered by law enforcement since May 30 for crimes that may have occurred during civil unrest.