TAMPA -- Police Chief Brian Dugan expressed frustration after a couple of incidents in which officers were injured, in circumstances that may have been fueled by response to the George Floyd killing in Minneapolis.
Dugan says his officers responded to a report of gunfire at 15th Street and 26th Avenue early Friday morning. He says a large group blocked all four intersections and became aggressive when cops tried to locate a victim. Dugan says the group surrounded officers, threw bottles and glass, and jumped on vehicles. An officer suffered cuts and swlling after getting hit in the head. Another officer was also struck but without injury. Police arrested Aaron Lamar Brown, 25, and charged him with resisting with violence, failure to obey a lawful order and violation of probation.
Dugan described the event as an ambush. "We ended up calling every available officer (to the scene), from South Tampa to New Tampa."
Dugan's comments also reflected apparent frustration with 13th District State Attorney Andrew Warren's decision to drop charges against some of the people involved in George Floyd protests.
"Charges were dropped on 68 people who... the way it was described was exercising their First Amendment rights, which was completely inaccurate," Dugan said. "The police are in a very tough spot. If we show up and people are exercising their rights, it turns into a clash and the police are the bad guys, but we also have complaints about (lack of) police presence at protests," Dugan said.
"It feels like they can't win, and I would have to agree with them, they can't win," Dugan said.