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Courts / Law

Tampa Protesters Face Felony Charges After Gatherings Lead To Rioting

Storefront damaged during protest
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE
The charges range from burglary, rioting, and battery on a law enforcement officer.

Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren filed the first set of felony charges Thursday resulting from rioting that occurred during protests in Tampa last month.

In a news release Thursday, Warren said 11 people face 15 felony charges including burglary, rioting, battery on a law enforcement officer, and cocaine possession.

The charges stem from protests that became violent on May 30-31 at University Mall and in Temple Terrace.

“If you’re out to peacefully protest, you can expect support from our community. But if you’re out to hurt, destroy, or steal, you can expect to be held accountable under the law,” Warren said in the release.

Earlier this week, Warren declined to prosecute 67 people who were arrested while peacefully protesting in downtown Tampa two weeks ago.

Warren said Thursday’s charges involve individuals who chose to take advantage of protests to commit crimes and inflict harm.

He is investigating more than 130 protest arrests since the initial unrest in May, and more charges are expected, the release said.