Officials Charge 57 with Rioting, Looting Felonies at Tampa Protests
Prosecutors in the Tampa area have charged 57 people with rioting and looting that occurred just after George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis police custody sparked nationwide protests, officials announced on Friday.Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren said in a statement that charges have been filed against dozens of people for allegedly ransacking stores, causing destruction and fighting with police officers in Tampa. The riots began on the night of May 30, less than a week after the death of George Floyd in Minnesota on Memorial Day.“These 57 people should not be confused with the large number of peaceful protesters in our community,” Warren said. “The defendants we’ve charged took advantage of the pain in our community and tried to turn it into a quick buck or set out to cause chaos. None of us will stand for that.”While most of the alleged offenses occurred more than a month ago, Warren explained that filing charges take time because prosecutors need to fully review all of the evidence for each case.The Hillsborough State Attorney’s Office has declined to prosecute peaceful protesters, although Warren added that the 57 people accused of felony crimes could face anywhere from five years to life in prison.The businesses that were affected include jewelry stores, clothing stores and convenience stores.