TAMPA, Fla. - The city of Tampa and Hillsborough County continue assessing the damage done during protests and looting Saturday night while putting measures in place to prevent further destruction.
New video recorded Saturday in North Tampa shows a crowd trying to break into the Race Trak gas station along East Fowler Avenue, not long before a nearby business, Champs Sports, begins to burn out of control.
Dozens of people gathered around as several men used crowbars and their bare hands to shatter the glass doors of the convenience store. One man's hands appear bloody after he punches the door several times.
After they break through the doors, the crowd runs into the business. Several of the looters could be seen wearing medical-type masks; a reminder of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Nearby, a fire was set at Champs Sports, sending huge plumes of smoke into the sky.
Saturday's protests in Tampa forced the closure of streets near the University of South Florida and then outside Busch Gardens Saturday afternoon and the unrest continued overnight. Two Hillsborough County sheriff's deputies suffered minor injuries, the sheriff's office said.
In addition to the Champs Sports, a Mobil station was also burned. Looters also targeted an AT&T store, a jewelry store, and a CVS.
Governor Ron DeSantis even activated the Florida National Guard in response to the violence.
Dozens of suspects ended up being arrested. Most of the suspects live in Tampa; the rest were from nearby communities.
This afternoon, the accused looters faced a very unhappy Judge Catherine Catlin. “What a disgrace that had nothing to do with Mr. Floyd. Every American citizen should be outraged by that video. Every decent American believes that Mr. Floyd should not be dead, but there’s no excuse for criminal activity."
Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren plans to add an enhancement to the charges because the looting was committed during a state of emergency. “We don’t want the conduct of a few criminals to drown out the voices of the many who are protesting in peace," he added.
Instead of the accused looters facing a third-degree felony, they will be facing second-degree burglary and grand theft charges, which mean more possible jail time.