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Black Lives Matter protesters harassed diners and threatened drivers in St. Petersburg, Florida following the Louisville grand jury’s decision on the Breonna Taylor case.
Violent protests and demonstrations broke out after the decision in Kentucky to charge one of the Louisville police officers involved in Taylor’s fatal shooting back in March with “wanton endangerment.” A mob of protesters poured out into St. Petersburg streets as well on Wednesday, sparking several confrontations that were captured on video.
Tampa Bay Times reporter Josh Fiallo posted one incident that reportedly occurred during the night as a group of Black Lives Matter protesters set upon an elderly white couple at an outdoor restaurant table, pulling up chairs and issuing chants and threats.
“Protestors are now going restaurant by restaurant to chant at diners on Beach Dr. in St. Pete,” Fiallo wrote on Twitter. “A lot of diners yelled back, starting multiple confrontations. This one was the most significant. Protestors took over a couple’s table. Not sure why they were targeted specifically.”
Protestors are now going restaurant by restaurant to chant at diners on Beach Dr. in St. Pete. A lot of diners yelled back, starting multiple confrontations.
This one was the most significant. Protestors took over a couple’s table. Not sure why they were targeted specifically. pic.twitter.com/dzLM7KuCW9
— Josh Fiallo (@ByJoshFiallo) September 24, 2020
Diners seated outside at the restaurant on Florida’s west coast were confronted by a mob that stood facing the tables, chanting “Stand up, fight back!” as seen in the video posted by Fiallo.
Eventually, one of the activists pulled up a chair where a couple had been sitting, prompting the woman to jump out of her seat and declare, “Nope, this is my table!” But her attempt to remove the protester from the chair was unsuccessful, and two more joined in at the table, also chanting and flashing signs.
The couple’s table was soon overrun with activists who verbally harassed the couple, with one of them telling the man “why don’t you shut up?”
“I’ll knock your old-a** boyfriend the f*** out,” the protester who initially took a seat told the woman.
Meanwhile, the diners had stood their ground, as the woman seemed to have made a phone call and was speaking to someone as she was being verbally attacked. The man with her, after giving her a momentary hug as the confrontation began, seemed to have begun filming the mob on his own phone. At one point, he turned and could be seen laughing at the absurdity as another person filming the incident commented.
That protester apparently posted a clip of the exchange in a longer Facebook video where, over an hour into the commentary-filled account, the demonstrators can be seen harassing the couple and then moving on.
Wednesday’s protesting was not confined to the restaurants in the area, however, as demonstrators were also seen in another video as they attacked a car trying to get through a barricade.
“Protestors tried to stop it from getting through, hitting it with skateboards and standing in front of it,” the Tampa Bay Times reporter noted in a video posted to Twitter, adding that there were about 60 protesters.
Today’s protest in St. Pete had been conflict free until this ….
A car tried to get through a temporary road blockade. Protestors tried to stop it from getting through, hitting it with skateboards and standing in front of it.
There’s about 60 marchers tonight. pic.twitter.com/o9BY2LeNc3
— Josh Fiallo (@ByJoshFiallo) September 23, 2020
Other scenes were also caught on video.
9/23/20 St. Petersburg, FL | Protesters decrying Breonna Taylor decision take their message to bar patrons. Some patrons are more receptive than others.
— Liz Jones (@LizJone26271417) September 24, 2020
“In St. Pete, we support peaceful protests,” St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman said. “We will never support or tolerate lawbreakers who wish to dishonor the life of Breonna Taylor or anyone else. We will never support those who set out to hurt the cause and prevent progress.”
In St. Pete, we support peaceful protests. We will never support or tolerate lawbreakers who wish to dishonor the life of Breonna Taylor or anyone else. We will never support those who set out to hurt the cause and prevent progress.
— Rick Kriseman (@Kriseman) September 24, 2020
Ongoing protests since the death of George Floyd in May were reenergized with reactions to Wednesday’s announcement that only one of the three officers involved in connection with the raid that killed Breonna Taylor would be charged.
Two Louisville police officers were shot as riots erupted in the city Wednesday night, but the injuries were thankfully described as “non-life-threatening.”
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