We had previously written in an earlier blog post about what to do if approached by the police during the Republican National Convention. Thee were panicked stories about anarchists who will purposely destroy property and hurt people. Based on previous convention arrest number, the Tampa police department were estimating over 1,000 arrests and had been approved for a 50 million dollar federal grant to beef up their equipment and numbers. As of Friday morning with the convention winding down the grand arrest total is…maybe a few dozen?!
A combination of Hurricane Isaac, overwhelming police numbers and a “kinder, gentel” police force led to some confrontations but no mass arrests and little property damage. Per an article in the Tampa Times, even many protesters were impressed with how polite and restrained many of the over 60 police agencies involved in convention security were. Police spokesmen were happy but gave much of the credit for peace to low turnout. For instance on Monday 500 people showed up at a protest that was expecting over 5000. Per the spokesmen, the violent anarchists needed a larger crowd to move in, the smaller crowd did not allow for much mayham.
Of course there were still arrests. Earlier in the week, a man was arrested and charged with carrying a concealed weapon when he was found with a machete in his pants. There were also several arrests for disorderly conduct, marijuana possession, battery and criminal mischief among others.
Overall Tampa and St. Petersburg got lucky. There was very little property damage, only a few arrests and by most accounts a safe and fun convention for guests and home town folks alike. In this case both the multiple police agencies and even many of the protestors themselves deserve a big hand for both keeping the streets safe and allowing the first amendment right to assembly to flourish.
Have you or a loved one been arrested? Then call the experienced St. Petersburg criminal defense lawyers at Blake & Dorsten, P.A. now! These former prosecutors are now fighting for your rights. Call them at 727.286.6141 or email them on the contact page for a free consultation. The defense attorneys of Blake & Dorsten handle all criminal and personal injury cases throughout the gulf coast.