ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - In the hours after the grand jury decision was announced in the Breonna Taylor case, reactions and protests spread across the country -- including right in St. Petersburg, where two intense confrontations occurred Wednesday night.
Video captured by the Tampa Bay Times shows protesters on Beach Drive chanting "stand up right now." Some begin a confrontation with a couple eating dinner outside a restaurant that appears to be Parkshore Grill. In the video, two protesters sit down at their table as the woman says, "This is my table."
The woman attempts to unseat one protester from his chair, but he refuses to move. Other protesters edge closer to the table and yell at the woman as she speaks on the phone; the footage ends after just over one minute.
“They have a right to free speech and these people have a right to enjoy dinner also, so I think like I said mutual respect,” St. Petersburg Police Chief Anthony Holloway explained. “If they’re on the sidewalk away from everyone they have that freedom of speech. If you come and sit at my table and I don’t want you at my table and the manager asks you to leave the property you’re past that line.”
A second video, taken earlier, shows protesters blocking a nearby street. When a car tries to drive through, some protesters – including one who later appears at the couple’s Beach Drive table – jump on top of the vehicle and one protester can be seen throwing a skateboard at the car as it drives away.
”We weren’t there at the scene so we have to go by the victim statement. So we had a good video and there was damage to the victim’s car, all the victim had to do was say ‘I want to press charges’ and we would’ve moved forward. If we have no victim we have no crime,” said Holloway.
Both clips are short. It's unclear what preceded the confrontations or what occurred after the cameras stopped rolling.
A Twitter user claiming to have witnessed the Beach Drive scene said that the diners in the video were cursing at the protesters and making rude gestures at them. But another Twitter user, claiming to be the diner in the video, denied that, adding that she called police but "nothing happened."
She did not respond to FOX 13's requests for comment.
Mayor Rick Kriseman tweeted in support of "peaceful protests" but did not specifically reference either incident.
SPPD Chief Anthony Holloway said no charges would be filed against the protesters.
”We weren’t there at the scene so we have to go by the victim statement. So we had a good video and there was damage to the victim’s car; all the victim had to do was say, ‘I want to press charges’ and we would’ve moved forward. If we have no victim, we have no crime,” said Chief Holloway.
Police say no one wanted to file a formal complaint in the restaurant incident, either.
“They have a right to free speech and these people have a right to enjoy dinner also, so I think, like I said, mutual respect."
The confrontations came just days after Governor Ron DeSantis announced legislation that would impose penalties on violent and disruptive protesters. The bill, if it becomes a law, would make it a felony when a group of seven or more cause damage to property or injure somebody. It would also make it a felony to block roads during an unlawful protest.
The proposal would create a mandatory minimum six-month jail sentence for striking a law enforcement officer during a protest.
Critics believe the legislation would violate a person's right to assemble peacefully.
Beyond St. Pete, all across the nation, tens of thouands of people flooded the streets to protest the grand jury's announcement Wednesday that only one of the three officers in Breonna Taylor's case would face any charges, and none would be charged in her death.
For days, the city of Louisville, Kentucky has been bracing itself for unrest. The courthouse and many businesses began boarding up days ago in preparation for the announcement, and the city declared a state of emergency two days before the decision came out.
However, that didn't stop the unrest from erupting once that grand jury's decision was announced.
Two Louisville police officers were shot while responding to reports of shots fired. Both officers had non-life threatening injuries and are expected to survive. The suspected shooter, who has not been identified, was taken into custody.
That was one of dozens of arrests overnight in Louisville. Similar scenes played out in major cities across the U.S., including Atlanta, Washington D.C., Philadelphia and New York.
Only one of the three officers involved in the botched raid on Taylor's apartment earlier this year was indicted, but not for her death. Former detective Brett Hankison faces charges of wanton endangerment for firing into the apartment next door to Taylor's.
Prosecutors said the two officers who fired at Taylor were justified in using deadly force because her boyfriend fired at them first. The boyfriend had previously said he didn't know they were officers.
In total, those officers fired 16 shots. Six of them hitting Taylor
The mayor of Louisiville asked the community to remain calm and said the fight for justice for Taylor is not over.
"Police reform is just one aspect of the work that we need to do, because justice for Breonna Taylor must be about more than the decision that was announced earlier today by the attorney general," Mayor Greg Fischer said. "Justice for Breonna also means a commitment to eliminating systemic and structural racism in our city, in our country, to closing the unconscionable wealth gap in education, health and opportunity that race so often represents."
Louisville officials have since banned no-knock warrants in honor of Taylor. The city has also agreed to pay her family $12 million in settlement.