tampa protest

States Attorneys Office Updates Public On Protest Cases From Hillsborough

September 4, 2020

by: Staff Report

TAMPA, Fla. – In a press release today, Andrew Warren’s office updated the public on protest-related cases including cases where the State Attorneys Office has concluded prosecutorial decisions.

“These types of cases involve tough decisions. Our guiding principle is to distinguish between people committing crimes for personal gain or to cause destruction versus protestors whose aim is to make their voices heard. The 264 charges filed to date make it clear that we will prosecute those who seek to harm our community, but it is counterproductive to criminally prosecute people who are exercising their First Amendment rights—especially when other options exist to address questionable behavior, such as civil citations,” said the release.

The details on the cases are as follows:

·         Our office has filed 264 charges against 120 different people for crimes of looting, burglary, theft, and attacking police, with the majority of these cases stemming from widespread unrest in Tampa on the night of May 30. Two-thirds of these charges are felonies, each carrying a potential penalty of at least five years in prison if convicted.

·         Case No. 2020-CM-4501 – Defendant Adam Sartori has been charged with criminal mischief for vandalizing a police car on May 30. The evidence establishes the defendant willfully and maliciously damaged property.

·         Case Number Not Yet Assigned – Defendant Noah Armstrong has been charged with reckless driving for steering his car through a group of protestors on July 4. The evidence establishes the defendant drove his car with wanton disregard for the safety of others.

·         Case No. 2020-CM-6645 – Our office will not be pursuing criminal charges related to an incident on August 12 where it is alleged that suspect Jae Passmore committed battery when she lightly pushed a man who walked closely by her. Consistent with other similar cases, we are exercising our discretion not to expend limited resources prosecuting an extremely minor incident that presents in no threat to public safety.

·         Case No. 2020-CF-8291 – Our office will be dismissing false imprisonment charges against Defendants Sadie Dean and Torrie Grogan which resulted from a confrontation on June 27 in Hyde Park Village. After additional review of this case, we determined the evidence does not establish beyond a reasonable doubt the elements necessary for false imprisonment.

·         Case Number Not Yet Assigned – Our office will not pursue criminal charges against the individuals who painted a “Back the Blue” mural on public property on August 1 in Downtown Tampa without permission. The evidence available does not establish beyond a reasonable doubt the individuals responsible acted with willful or malicious intent to damage property as required under Florida law. 

·         Case No. 2020-CM-6414, 6415, and 6416 – Our office will not pursue criminal charges against the four individuals who painted over the “Back the Blue” mural without permission. The evidence available does not establish beyond a reasonable doubt the individuals responsible acted with willful or malicious intent to damage property as required under Florida law.

·         Case No. 2020-CM-6329, 6330, 6331, 6332, 6333, 6336, and 6338 – Our office will not pursue criminal charges against the seven individuals who blocked a walkway and began to paint on public property in Curtis Hixon Park without permission. The evidence available does not establish beyond a reasonable doubt the individuals responsible acted with willful or malicious intent to damage property as required under Florida law.

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