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Police Brutality Protests Spread to Tampa, Miami

Bay News 9

Protests against police brutality that have spread across the country reached Florida Friday night with events taking place in Tampa and Miami.

While demonstrators shut down I-195 in Miami, Tampa's protest disrupted the city's holiday tree lighting ceremony.

Tampa Police said between 200 and 250 people took part in the march, which started at about 6 p.m. in Gaslight Park.  Marchers walked down the middle of Kennedy Boulevard, blocking intersections for short periods of time.

The Tampa Tribune reports the demonstrators then walked into Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park where the lighting ceremony was taking place. They stood in front of the stage and chanted loud enough to drown out holiday music.

While no arrests were reported, the Tribune reports some in attendance at the ceremony left because of the protest.

Bryan Felts was there with his children. As fake snow wafted on the breeze all around him, his family outing was spoiled, he said. “This is not the time or place for this,” Felts said. “There are kids and families here to celebrate Christmas. I didn't bring my kids here to watch this. I hope they're not here all night.”

Similar protests have taken place across the country in the last week in response to the decisions by grand juries not to charge police officers in the deaths of Michael Brown, 18, in Ferguson, Mo., and Eric Garner, 43, of Staten Island, N.Y.

Mark Schreiner is the assistant news director and intern coordinator for WUSF News.
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