TAMPA, FL – June 4, 2020 - According to an online news report published on TampaBay.com, Tampa Police arrested over 70 protesters for unlawful assembly, rioting, and/or looting. Over 40 Tampa Bay area businesses were damaged and looted during the weekend protests in Tampa Bay, Florida.
The names of over 40 people who were arrested during the protests against police brutality were released by the Tampa Police Department on Sunday. Another 21 names of individuals arrested late Sunday evening were released by the Tampa Police Department on Monday. The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office published a list of 10 additional people who were arrested by the Sheriff’s deputies over the weekend. One of the suspects on the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s arrest report was already identified on the Tampa police arrest list.
The protests arose throughout the United States after an African-American man in Minneapolis was tragically killed as he was held down to the ground by several Minneapolis police officers. One Minneapolis police officer held his knee on the neck of George Floyd, resulting in Mr. Floyd suffocating and tragically passing away.
In addition to the releasing of the names of those individuals arrested over the weekend, the Tampa Police Department released their list of the Tampa businesses that were looted and damaged. The businesses damaged and looted in Tampa, Florida, were large chain stores to small family-owned shops. According to news reports and the Tampa Police Department, a few of the businesses were destroyed by arson or received heavy damage.
According to the Tampa Police Department and the online news report, most of the people who were arrested by police have been charged with “Burglary of a Structure During a State of Emergency.” Since these burglaries were committed during a state of emergency, the charge of burglary is automatically elevated to a more serious offense with greater punishments if found guilty of the charge. For example, a burglary charge without the use of violence and in an unoccupied dwelling in the State of Florida is typically a felony in the third-degree. However, if an individual commits burglary during a “state of emergency” such as a hurricane, stay-at-home pandemic order, riot, or other state of emergency called by the Florida Governor, the burglary charge then becomes a charge of “Burglary of a Structure During a State of Emergency” which is a felony in the second-degree. The penalties are much more severe. For example, a second-degree felony, if found guilty, is punishable with up to 15 years in prison, or 15 years of probation, and a fine of up to $10,000.
The news report also states that some of the other offenses include: battery on a law enforcement officer, carrying a concealed weapon, grand theft, rioting, unlawful assembly, trespassing, and resisting arrest. According to the report, most of those individuals who were arrested Sunday evening were arrested for violating an emergency management order. The age of the suspects ranged from 14 years of age to 48 years of age. The report states that seven of the suspects are juvenile offenders.