City leaders send solidarity message to St. Pete amid protests

Pinellas County

SAINT PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) — St. Pete city leaders are meeting on the steps of City Hall on Wednesday morning in a show of solidarity amid nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd.

Mayor Rick Kriseman, Deputy Mayor Dr. Kanika Tomalin, Police Chief Anthony Holloway, St. Petersburg City Council and other City leaders will gather with members of the community at 10:00 a.m. on the steps of City Hall to show support of the national outcry against Floyd’s death in Minneapolis. 

According to a news release, they plan to address ongoing management of the daily protests, body cameras as well as other relationship-strengthening tactics employed by Saint Petersburg Police.

This comes after police arrested 23 people and confiscated a backpack with mortars inside Tuesday night.

According to police, at 11:48 p.m. a crowd in front of the department headquarters were setting off fireworks, so police made a public announcement that this was an unlawful assembly and the crowd needed to leave the area.

After two minutes, police launched smoke bombs.  Several protesters threw large fireworks (mortars) back towards the building, according to a news release.

Police and deputies arrested a total of 23 people who refused to leave.

Prior to the arrests, it was a day of peaceful protesting. Protestors marched through the city streets chanting “I can’t breathe” hoping to get their message across.

“I hope and pray that it is, but it needs to be a change.  It’s a shame that you are here in America you’ve got to live, I shouldn’t be afraid to go out my door and wonder if the police are going to pull me over,” said Hopeton Johnson.

At one point, protesters laid down in the street for nearly nine minutes to represent the amount of time a Minneapolis Police Officer held George Floyd down with his knee on his neck, while Floyd pleaded for help.

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