TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Four people are facing charges after they allegedly assaulted police officers during a demonstration at the University of South Florida on Monday.
According to USF police, members of Tampa Bay Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) went inside the Patel Center for Global Solutions building and started chanting loudly, disrupting normal school operations. SDS had organized the demonstration to protest Gov. Ron DeSantis’ plans to defund diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives at Florida universities.
Officers with the University Police Department responded and asked them to leave the building numerous times, but they refused, according to police.
“Despite the attempts of officers to peacefully deescalate the situation and escort the protestors out of the building, several of the individuals then became aggressive and initiated physical altercations with police,” police said in a statement. “One officer was pushed to the ground and suffered minor injuries, while other officers were also shoved by protestors.”
Police said the officers were hit with a water bottle, unidentified liquid and what was believed to be a video camera. However, some students have alleged police brutality.
“SDS members and concerned community members were met with police aggression, with many people being brutalized,” one student told WFLA.
Police arrested four of the protesters—Gia Marie Davilla, 21, Chrisley Marie Solidum Carpio, 31, Laura Raquel Rodriguez, 23, and Sean Michael Williams, 26—on charges of assault or battery of law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical care providers, public transit employees or agents, or other specified officers, resisting an officer without violence to his or her person, and educational institutions or school boards; penalty for disruption.