Overhead footage of a chaotic and violent gathering in Tampa, Florida, Saturday shows police officers being driven back by large crowds of people in what the city’s police chief is calling a “setup.”
What are the details?
In a press conference following the incident, Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan told reporters that his officers were “ambushed” by the crowd of people and targeted with “bottles and glass.”
“It’s an ambush. I have no other way to describe it. When there are that many people out there and clearly no one had been shot. It was just a setup to get the cops there,” Dugan said, according to WFTS-TV.
Officers originally responded to the scene after there were reports of shots fired with a possible victim, but when they arrived on the scene to investigate, they weren’t able to locate a victim. Instead the crowd reportedly surrounded and harassed the officers, throwing objects and jumping on patrol cars.
Two officers were injured during the incident and taken to the hospital with lacerations, WTVT-TV reported. Both officers are expected to be fine.
The police chief noted the size of the crowd in his comments to the press.
“There were hundreds of them — hundreds. We ended up having to call every single police officer that was available that night to respond there, from New Tampa to South Tampa,” he said.
Police arrested one man during the incident, Aaron Lamar Brown, 25, for violently resisting arrest and violating his probation, according to WFLA-TV.
The Saturday night incident was followed by a separate ambush that occurred Monday morning at a 7-Eleven, when a suspect resisted arrest and attempted to take an officer’s gun.
The suspect also reportedly struck the officer in the face several times, leaving him with cuts and bruises.
Dugan made clear that he will not tolerate violence against his officers.
“There have been some violent acts. People are acting out. They think they can get away with doing whatever they want toward the cops,” Dugan said. “We’re going to use the necessary force to take people into custody. I think that’s what people need to understand.”
“The police, we always have everyone’s back. Nobody has ours right now and that is what I think is missing here,” he added. “The cops are not going to lie down. We’re going to go out there and do our job, but we’re being really careful.”