Tense protest breaks out in St. Petersburg after Breonna Taylor decision

Pinellas County

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) — Protests over the decision in the Breonna Taylor case continued across the country Wednesday night, including in the Tampa Bay area.

The unrest was in response to a grand jury charging former Louisville Police Officer Brett Hankinson with three counts of wanton endangerment. He’s one of several officers who could have faced murder, manslaughter or reckless homicide charges in the death of Breonna Taylor.  

Protests took place in several cities throughout the country Wednesday.

One was held in St. Petersburg. Video taken by a reporter from the Tampa Bay Times shows there were some dicey moments.

One tense moment happened when a man protesting climbed on a car. That same person, it appears, is seen in another video sitting down at a table with people dining along Beach Drive. 

“My message is, we have officers out there. If the owner of the establishment were to call, we would arrive and tell the protestors they need to leave,” St. Petersburg Police Chief Anthony Holloway said.

In these cases, police say no one wanted to file charges, so no one was arrested. But the police chief continues to urge protestors to remain peaceful and obey the law. 

“If you interrupt someone or you go on to private property, you can be removed from that property,” he said.  

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman tweeted Wednesday night in support of peaceful protests but said, “we will never support or tolerate lawbreakers who wish to dishonor the life of Breonna Taylor or anyone else.”

According to St. Petersburg police, there have been protests in the city for the past three months. They were being held every day but then cut back to about three times a week. 

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