TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Hundreds of protesters marched to Franklin Manor on Tuesday night to make their voices heard after incendiary comments made by one of the restaurant’s co-owners were leaked to the press. Sixty-four of them were arrested after the protest turned violent at another location downtown, police said.
Police said the group had been taking part in an eight-mile-long demonstration around downtown that had started at City Hall around 4 p.m. The crowd stayed there for about an hour and a half before they marched to the FOX 13 television station to give speeches and meet another group of protesters that had come from Herman Massey Park.
Both groups then headed down to Franklin Manor while police controlled traffic. WFLA reported the restaurant is facing backlash over comments one of its co-owners posted about protests in Tampa.
Lanfranco Pescante resigned from the restaurant’s parent company after an Instagram post surfaced in which Pescante said, “just shoot them all” in reference to those protesting the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Police said about 500 protesters were outside of the business on Tuesday night.
The group left the restaurant and marched to several locations downtown. Police said they tried to take over Interstate 275 on three separate occasions, but were stopped by troopers and police. On one occasion, three demonstrators ran up an exit ramp, but officers intervened before they could get hurt, police said.
Police said at the end of the protests, some of the crowd became violent and started throwing bricks and other items at officers.
Police said some protesters started climbing on patrol cars after officers blocked traffic along the Brorein Street Bridge. Then they became increasingly violent toward officers and smashed a windshield on a police vehicle and dented another, according to police.
Police ordered the remaining crowd of about 300 people to disperse and deployed smoke and CS gas after someone threw and object at them.
Police said a total of 64 people were arrested after the incident on charges of unlawful assembly. Four of them were also charged with resisting arrest without violence.
Their identities were not released.
One officer suffered a minor injury, but no other injuries were reported, police said.
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