NewsPinellas County


St. Petersburg Police arrest 23 people at protest and confiscate a backpack full of 'mortars'

Posted at 2:41 AM, Jun 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-03 07:25:34-04

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Police arrested nearly two dozen people Tuesday following hours of mostly peaceful protests over the death of George Floyd in downtown St. Petersburg.

St. Petersburg Police say about 300 demonstrators starting marching on city streets around 2 p.m. The group took over major intersections, halting traffic for several minutes. Because the march was peaceful, officers allowed the group to continue their protest.

RELATED: Protesters take to Tampa Bay area streets in wake of George Floyd's death: June 2

Later Tuesday night, police learned some protesters were setting off large incendiaries as they marched. This concerned officers because they did not know what type of devices were being set off.

When the crowd returned to the front of St. Petersburg Police headquarters at 11:48 p.m., officers announced it was an unlawful assembly due to the incendiary devices being used. Police told the demonstrators they needed to leave the area for their own safety and the safety of the officers.


After two minutes, police launch smoke bombs to disperse the crowd. Officers say several protesters then threw large fireworks described as "mortars" towards police headquarters.

Officers and Pinellas County deputies ended up arresting 23 people who refused to leave the area. One of the arrested protesters had a backpack full of large fireworks.

Police did not release the names of those arrested or the charges they are facing.