TAMPA, Fla. - Dozens of protesters were arrested in downtown Tampa early Wednesday morning following hours of protests that took place Tuesday. Tampa police say more than 60 people were taken into custody after rocks and bottles were thrown at officers and vehicles.
Earlier in the day, the group of protesters had gathered downtown, where they rallied peacefully against police brutality but chose not to speak with Mayor Jane Castor when she approached them. They then marched down Kennedy Boulevard and back downtown as officers closed stretches of the road to protect them.
Police say a crowd of demonstrators attempted to take over Interstate 275 three different times. Officers and Florida Highway Patrol troopers were able to block their efforts to rush onto the interstate. At one point, they say, three demonstrators ran up an exit ramp of I-275, but officers stopped them before they could be injured on the interstate.
Later, police say rocks were thrown at police cruisers and bottles were thrown at officers. Police say the arrests started around midnight when large crowds remained downtown and refused to leave.
"With some in the protest becoming increasingly violent toward officers and attempting to damage property, officers gave an official dispersal order at 11:46 p.m. to the remaining crowd of approximately 300," a TPD spokesperson explained.
Police say they told the group to disperse multiple times and gave them ample warning before they began making arrests.
Video from early Wednesday morning shows protesters lined up on the street with their hands zip-tied behind their backs as they were being put into police transport vans. A total of 64 people were charged with unlawful assembly. Four people were charged with resisting arrest without violence.
Two police vehicles were damaged and one officer sustained a minor injury.
The arrests follow more than a week of nationwide outrage over the alleged murder of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer.