TAMPA, Fla. – Several protests held in Tampa for George Floyd Saturday evening escalated as protesters began looting businesses and throwing rocks and bottles, officials said.
What You Need To Know
- Protests held at University Square Mall and Busch Blvd & North 30th Street
- Protesters began looting businesses, throwing rocks & bottles
- Champs Sporting Goods and a Mobile gas station were also set on fire
- Live Updates from our crews in the field below
UNIVERSITY SQUARE MALL PROTEST
At least 300 people gathered to protest at the University Square Mall Saturday night where things took a violent turn.
Multiple stores and restaurants were looted, windows and doors were smashed in.
The Champs Sporting Goods store was also set on fire last night during the protests.
The sheriff's office did use tear gas, but it did nothing to stop the crowds.
We have not heard that any of the protesters were injured, but the sheriff's office did say two deputies suffered head injuries and were taken to the hospital. And at least three people were arrested.
"I tell you what, every single one of these lawbreakers we can get our hands on we're going to put them in jail and hold them accountable," Sheriff Chad Chronister said.
TAMPA PROTEST AT BUSCH BLVD AND NORTH 30TH STREET
A group of protesters gathered near Busch Boulevard and North 30th Street began setting off fireworks and throwing rocks at a vacant Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office patrol car.
Some people in the crowd began looting a nearby Mobile gas station, which was caught on fire.
According to Tampa police, people also launched fireworks at officers. One officer was hit with a firework, but was not injured.
Police activated its Crowd Management Group to ensure safety.
“While we understand the anger and frustration people in the community have for events that took place halfway across the country, we will not condone the actions of those who seek to injure others or damage property,” Tampa police chief Brian Dugan said in a statement.
Tampa police said more than 40 people were arrested last night during the protests related on charges ranging from burglary to rioting and carrying concealed firearms.
ST. PETE PROTEST
Earlier in the day, protests in the Tampa area had remained peaceful. Hundreds of people gathered in St. Petersburg to protest Floyd’s death. Floyd died Monday while in police custody.
Former officer Derek Chauvin, who was seen in a video with his knee on Floyd’s neck, has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
LIVE UPDATES: Spectrum Bay News 9 crews are out taking a look at some of the damage from the protests Saturday night.