TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Looters brought chaos and destruction to the streets of Tampa Saturday night and people in the community say their actions are sending the wrong message.
“If you’re protesting, what is this going to solve?” Tampa resident and blogger Demario Jives asked.
His question resonated with many in the Tampa Bay area after peaceful protests left behind burned, bruised and battered buildings and shattered glass and debris scattered throughout the streets of Tampa.
“You come here to get your Chinese food, your shoes,” Jives said. “If these people decide once they get their insurance money they don’t want to come back, they want to go into different neighborhoods, now you have to go into different neighborhoods and maybe those neighborhoods won’t treat you the way you get treated in your own neighborhood.”
At the center of it all lies the death of another unarmed black man by a white police officer. George Floyd, 46, was killed while in Minneapolis police custody. Many peaceful protests demanding change in the streets of Tampa took place over the weekend. But some began looting and tearing apart their own city.
“This man did not die for this,” Jives said. “The police are the people that killed him, not the shoe store. We have a problem with the police, so if you have a problem with the police, breaking into a store is not going to solve the problem.”
Tampa resident Jeremiah Sellers shared the same sentiments.
“This is not the way to send a message,” he said. “This will not solve anything, so people need to find some other kind of way.”
A massive clean-up project is now underway throughout Tampa. City employees and business owners are still picking up the pieces looters caused and left behind.