TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The Tampa Police Department has arrested seven people and cited two others after they say protesters blocked the flow of traffic on Dale Mabry while protesting for over an hour.
Police say around 40 protesters and several more in cars entered the intersection of N. Dale Mabry Highway and W. Spruce Street around 12:21 p.m. and “caused the normal flow of traffic, both northbound and southbound, to come to a stop.”
After numerous complaints to TPD, police say they issued a dispersal message to the group around 12:56 p.m. A second and third message was made and then around 1 p.m., a fourth message was made, according to Tampa police.
Tampa Police Department Aviation told officers there were around 100 people in the intersection at this time, blocking the flow of traffic for more than an hour, a release from TPD said.
Around 1:30 p.m., police say officers identified the organizers and leaders of the protest and started making arrests for violation of City Ordinance 14-41, which prohibits people from gathering and standing in groups in “the streets, avenues and sidewalks of the city in such a manner as to obstruct the free passage of persons or vehicles.“
Moments later, the Tampa Police Department said objects were being thrown at the officers. While trying to make one arrest, police say officers were surrounded and a large group began to close in on the arresting officers and the officers working to provide security.
TPD said members of the group then began pushing against officers on bicycles, who then shot two short bursts of pepper spray to push the group back.
Seven people were arrested for violated the city ordinance. Some of them also received charges for resisting arrest and battery on a law enforcement officer. One person arrested had a gun on them and was also charged with carrying a concealed firearm.
Two other people were cited for violating the city ordinance.
Police say two cars were also damaged during the incident.
LATEST NEWS FROM WFLA.COM:
- ‘You guys gave us something to celebrate’: Lightning’s Stamkos, Kucherov, Hedman on Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
- Mark Wahlberg donates 1.3M face masks to schools across the country including in Lakeland
- ‘Forgotten Fountain’ shines light on Tampa’s immigrant history
- City of Tampa lights up pink in honor of breast cancer awareness month
- ‘It would create a constitutional crisis’: Democrats, Republicans clash on when to fill Supreme Court vacancy