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'Stay home': Tampa Police Chief Dugan says to peaceful protesters

The chief indicated he supports peaceful demonstrators, but law enforcement officers are now taking more serious stances to avoid the violence that broke out.

TAMPA, Fla. — While Tampa city leaders say they support nonviolent demonstrations, the police chief is encouraging the many peaceful protesters to remain home for their safety on Sunday.

Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan said police will take a harder stance today after more than 40 people were arrested overnight on charges ranging from burglary to rioting and carrying concealed firearms.

Multiple businesses were looted along the Hillsborough, Busch, and Fowler corridors. The Mobil gas station at North 30th Street and E. Busch Boulevard was lit on fire, as well at the Champs Sports store located at North 22nd Street and E. Fowler Avenue.

“The behavior that took place last night is not going to be tolerated,” Dugan explained during a news conference with Mayor Jane Castor on Sunday.

He and the mayor have discussed possibly instituting a curfew. The mayor said she would consult with county leaders on the matter.

"What I saw today was shameful," Mayor Castor said at one point during the conference.

She said she had hoped most of the people arrested last night were from out of town, but most were from the Tampa area.

The evening scenes contrast with earlier peaceful protests in the Tampa Bay area following George Floyd's death in Minneapolis. Many people assembled in front of the Tampa Police Museum in the downtown area, later continuing to protest in Curtis Hixon Park.

Hundreds of peaceful demonstrators closed the intersection of Fowler Avenue and N. 56th Street during the afternoon as Temple Terrace police, Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office deputies and Florida Highway Patrol officers kept watch and helped to keep the roadway closed.

RELATED: People set fire to Tampa gas station, loot businesses after hectic protest nearby

RELATED: Flames shoot out of Champs Sports store in Tampa

"What I saw today was shameful," Mayor Castor said at one point during the conference. 

She said she had hoped most of the people arrested last night were from out of town, but most were from the Tampa area.

Castor also said she will be consulting with county leaders to determine whether Tampa will have a curfew. 

The evening scenes contrast with earlier peaceful protests in the Tampa Bay area following George Floyd's death in Minneapolis. Many people assembled in front of the Tampa Police Museum in the downtown area, later continuing to protest in Curtis Hixon Park. 

Hundreds of demonstrators closed the intersection of Fowler Avenue and N. 56th Street during the afternoon as Temple Terrace police, Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office deputies and Florida Highway Patrol officers kept watch and helped to keep the roadway closed.

RELATED: Peaceful demonstrators in downtown Tampa march for George Floyd

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