Teen protester accused of jabbing umbrella at officers 'never ever' meant to harm anyone

A woman arrested for allegedly throwing rocks at police during protests in Tampa last week appeared in court Monday. Erica Schmidt faces charges related to protests May 30 near University Mall, which turned violent as the night went on.

Hillsborough County Judge Catherine Catlin had a stern message for Schmidt during her appearance.

"For the life of me, they are burying Mr. Floyd today. I would love to know what you think you were doing,” the judge asked.

Another protester, 17-year-old Marli Church, was arrested for holding an umbrella during a march in Tampa. She spoke with FOX 13 News Monday.

“I’m scared that I’m going to be painted as the bad guy. I never ever want to do any harm to any person,” said Church.

But Tampa police say she was trying to do just that.

A video appears to show Church holding an umbrella during the march. At one point in the video, she begins running. Police say she was trying to jab a bicycle officer with the tip of the umbrella. Another angle shows an officer on a bike appearing to grab the umbrella right after.

Seconds later, Church held the umbrella up to her face, and not long after that she was taken down and arrested. She was charged with assaulting a law enforcement officer.

Tampa police chief Brian Dugan says he has watched the video repeatedly.

"She provoked these officers. She was trying to poke them with a pointy end of the umbrella," explained Dugan.

Chief Dugan said what Church did was intentional and criminal.

“This was certainly intentional, and the misleading part is she looks like a peaceful protester when we go ahead and take her into custody, and moments earlier she was attacking officers," said Dugan.

But Church denies striking an officer. She says that’s not in her.

MORE: Man arrested during Tampa protest hopes video will clear his name

“I’m a normal kid. I want to stand up against police brutality just like every other person should be," she said.

Her mother, Lisa Church, remembers getting the call about her daughter's arrest.

"It's not easy to see your child on the ground with police officers on top of them,” explained Church.

Now, Marli will have to start her senior year at Bloomingdale High with criminal charges looming over her.

“It’s very shocking that I’ve been accused of these things,” said Marli.

Her attorney, Michelle Lambo, believes the prosecution's case is weak and hopes the charges will be dropped.