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Tampa Police, Hills. Sheriff vow harder stance for protests after looting, fires & arrests Saturday

Peaceful protesters encouraged to stay home
Posted at 11:23 AM, May 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-31 15:55:25-04

TAMPA, Fla. — Tampa Mayor Jane Castor, Police Chief Brian Dugan and Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister addressed the public Sunday morning after protests turned violent in Tampa Saturday night.

More than 40 people were arrested by Tampa Police during the protest and seven were arrested by Hillsborough County Sheriff deputies. Charges range from burglary, rioting and carrying concealed firearms.

RELATED: George Floyd protests in Tampa turn violent; several stores looted, gas station set on fire

Chief Dugan said five businesses were set on fire and several others were looted during the protests in the area along Hillsborough, Busch and Fowler. He also said 27 Tampa Police cars were damaged.

One Tampa officer suffered burns to her arm throughout the protests. Two sheriff deputies were also injured.

The Mobil gas station at N. 30th Street and E. Busch Blvd. and the Champ's store at N. 22nd St. and E. Fowler Ave. were set on fire.

"To see this happening under my watch, it's difficult to watch and I'm disappointed," said Chief Dugan.

Several other Tampa Bay area protests are set to take place on Sunday, May 31. Chief Dugan says if you are a peaceful protester, he wants you to stay home.

Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister addressed citizens on Sunday afternoon.

"Last night is not the way anyone should react to hatred or racism... rioting and criminal behavior has no place in our community," Chronister said

"If you are peaceful protester, I'm asking you to stay home. Do not come out. It's a different tone right now...the behavior that took place last night will not be tolerated today," Dugan said.

The tone of the protests began to change around 6 p.m. on Saturday, according to Chief Dugan. Protests continued into the early morning hours of Sunday.

Despite the vileness in the area of University Mall, Chief Dugan said his team was "fairly successful, considering the circumstances."

"I applaud the efforts and restraints of the officers last night, they were doing everything they could to keep the community safe," said Mayor Castor.

Sheriff Chronister gave a stern warning to those thinking about causing havoc tonight.

"We must and will protect all law-abiding citizens along with their property. If you break the law, we will arrest you. We will lock you up," he said. "Obey the law. Anything less is unacceptable," said Chronister.

The protests came after the death of George Floyd. Floyd was a 46-year-old man who died Monday night after Derek Chauvin, a now-fired Minneapolis police officer who was charged with third-degree murder on Friday, knelt on his neck for several minutes, despite pleas from Floyd and bystanders.


Hillsborough Co. Sheriff Chad Chonister address violent protest and looting in Tampa


Tampa Mayor and Police Chief address protests, looting and fires