TAMPA, FL - July 21, 2020 - According to an online news report on Patch.com, 57 individuals are facing criminal charges in Tampa, Florida, due to crimes committed during the civil unrest in Tampa. Some of the criminal charges include allegations of fighting with law enforcement officers while being placed under arrest, looting, causing destruction to property, and ransacking stores. Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren brought the criminal charges filed against the 57 people. Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren made the public announcement regarding the criminal charges on July 19, 2020. These charges were brought in addition to other charges filed previously and are associated with the May 30, 2020 riot in Tampa, Florida.
According to the online news report, these 57 people are being charged with felony criminal charges. A few of the felony charges include 13 counts of grand theft, 52 counts of burglary, and four battery counts on a law enforcement officer. The report also stated that additional evidence is being processed in another 45 felony criminal cases, and additional criminal charges are expected to be filed in the near future. The penalty for a felony conviction could carry a prison term of five years to life in prison, depending on the charges. A majority of the charges stem from the rioting in Tampa that began on the night of May 30, 2020. The rioting was a result of public anger over the death of George Floyd, who was in custody by Minneapolis Police.
The delay in bringing the criminal charges against the 57 individuals was due to the amount of time necessary for the State Attorney's Office to review the evidence in each case. According to Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren, each case could consist of hundreds of documents, including eyewitness narratives, video evidence, police reports, and audio recordings.
Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren stated that law enforcement officers successfully stopped the crimes as the crimes were being committed, and the officers were able to apprehend and identify the criminal suspects instantly. Hillsborough State Attorney Warren said that his office is ready to do their part by holding the criminals responsible through prosecution of the defendants, and prevent those individuals from continuing to harm the community.
According to the Hillsborough State Attorney, the 57 defendants were not peaceful, law abiding protestors, and these individuals exploited the hurt our community was coping with and attempted to turn the protest into financial gain.
In addition to the felony charges, several of the defendants were also charged with various misdemeanor charges. The additional charges in some of the defendants' cases include:
- Fourteen counts of Petit Theft
- Ten counts of Resisting Arrest Without Violence
- Six counts of Unlawful Violation of Established Emergency Measures
- One count of Assault on a Law Enforcement Officer
- One count Loitering or Prowling
The shops and businesses harmed by some of the defendants include a pawnshop, a fireworks store, a department store, a sporting goods store, clothing stores, convenience stores, jewelry stores, cell phone stores, and an automobile rental company.