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7:30 p.m. Tampa curfew in effect indefinitely

Rioters burned buildings and looted businesses Saturday night.

The city of Tampa is implementing a citywide curfew from 7:30 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. effective immediately and until further notice.

The curfew, announced late Sunday afternoon, is in response to Saturday night protests that turned violent.

“What I saw last night was not a call for voices to be heard, ideas to affect change, or ways to shine a light on inequality,” Tampa Mayor Jane Castor said. “What I saw was shameful, what I saw was heartbreaking. And what I saw did not reflect our community and the values we share. We stand in solidarity with all of the peaceful protests happening in our city and around the country.”

Violations are a second degree misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. In some circumstances violators could be charged with a first degree misdemeanor and face up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Peaceful protests Saturday afternoon escalated around 6 p.m. Castor said with individuals throwing bottles, rocks and fireworks at police officers, one of whom was struck by a mortar and treated for minor burns.

Later, the protest gave why to rioting and looting in the University area where 41 people were arrested. Some 40 businesses were burglarized or looted and five businesses were set ablaze, including two — Champs Sports and a Mobil gas station — that sustained serious damage.

Several attempts were made to set Sears Automotive on fire, but police were able to ward off attempts.

Dumpsters at an apartment complex were also set on fire.

The protests came as similar events escalated throughout the U.S. after George Floyd was killed Monday at the hands of a white Minneapolis police officer.

Floyd’s killing has sparked outrage as racial tensions boil over. The officer who placed his knee atop Floyd’s neck until he died was arrested this week, but demonstrators want justice done by arresting other involved officers who were complacent in what has become an obvious case of police brutality condemned by law enforcement officials nationwide including Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan.

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Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at Janelle@floridapolitics.com.

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