ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Protests in St. Petersburg briefly turned tense outside police headquarters Sunday night.
What You Need To Know
- Protests outside St Pete police headquarters turns violent Sunday night
- 14 arrests, no injuries, no damage
- Unrest across Bay area and nationwide after last week's death of Minneapolis man in police custody
- PREVIOUS STORIES ON unrest, death of george Floyd
Fourteen people were arrested after what had been a peaceful protest turned violent, with protesters throwing rocks, bottles and other items at officers. Protesters also ripped the covers off water meters and threw them at officers.
There were no injuries and no reports of any damage or looting.
Protests have erupted in the Bay area and nationwide after the May 25 death of George Floyd, a black man who died in Minneapolis after a white police officer pressed his knee into Floyd's neck for several minutes even as he pleaded for air.
The officer, Derek Chauvin, has been fired and is now charged with murder.
Meanwhile, after weekend unrest in the Bay area, Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, along with St. Pete Police Chief Anthony Holloway and Mayor Rick Kriseman said protests that become violent will not be tolerated.
Sunday night's protest grew from about 75 people to a crowd of more than 200 in a matter of minutes.
Gualtieri said that was when the tone changed and protesters began throwing items at police.
Law enforcement used stingers, similar to flash bangs, to try and disperse the crowd but some protesters continued throwing items.
Deputies with shields finally used formations to break up the crowd.
Gualtieri said he wanted to convey a message to anyone planning to violently protest:
"Stop. Don't do it," he said late Sunday night. "If you come back tomorrow, we're going to react differently.
"They're the ones that set the tone and if they want to react in a calm, peaceful, orderly way, and express themselves, great, nobody's got any issue with that, more power to them, but when they act this way and they act in a violent way we're going to take care of what we have to take care of and we're going to protect the officers and the deputies and we're going to protect the public."