Hundreds of people ambushed police in Tampa Bay Florida after they were called out to the scene of an alleged victim of a shooting.
Fox News reports that two Tampa police officers were injured early Saturday morning after a crowd of hundreds surrounded a group of officers in an "ambush," style attack the Tampa police chief said.
The officers were responding to a report which stated shots were fired with a possible gunshot victim at an intersection near the Ybor City neighborhood around 1 a.m., Chief Brian Duggan told reporters. However, when police arrived they were greeted with a crowd of hundreds who then proceeded to block the intersection and attack them.
Duggan stated the hundreds of people blocked all four ends of the intersection and became aggressive. The crowd surrounded officers, threw bottles and glass, and jumped on a police vehicle. Officers failed to locate a victim and concluded it was an "ambush" and the entire thing was a setup to get officers on the ground to jump.“There were hundreds of them,” Dugan said, referring to the crowd. “Hundreds. We actually ended up having to call every single police officer that was available that night to respond there, from New Tampa to South Tampa.”
Duggan stated during the presser that over 100 officers responded to the disturbance on Saturday morning. He added, that one person was arrested.
"It's an ambush. I have no other way to describe it,” Duggan said. “When there are that many people out there and clearly no one had been shot. It was just a set up to get the cops there."
One cop was hit in the head with an unknown object and suffered a minor injury and swelling, police stated. That officer was treated and released from the hospital according to the press conference. A second officer was hit in the head with a glass bottle and is expected to recover.
Video from above the scene shows the crowd surrounding officers at an intersection as officials can be heard over audio saying that an officer has been struck with a bottle. At one point in the footage, a large group of the crowd can be seen running away down the street.
Protests have erupted across the country as protesters have voiced their concern for African American lives and the overall issue of police brutality. As a result of the chaos, some people have taken advantage of the situation with riots and looting breaking out in some places which authorities have struggled to contain.
Peaceful protests across the country have been damaged by occasional violent clashes between police with several videos of police brutality going viral. As the New York Times reported, authorities have responded to the calls for protests with more excessive force against the protesters. Various videos uploaded online shocked the internet showing officers using batons, tear gas, pepper spray, and rubber bullets against protesters and bystanders alike.
As the tension increases, there have been several incidents where cops have been attacked or killed. For example earlier this month, four police officers were shot and wounded and a retired St. Louis police captain was killed in Missouri. Police have even threatened to stage "blue flus" or walkouts in protest of officers being charged with murder for doing their jobs as Forbes reported.
Elsewhere, calls to defund or dismantle police are echoing. In Georgia, the legislative House backed an effort on Friday to dissolve the Glynn County Police Department and any other county police departments in the state, following its handling of the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery as Anewspost reported.
This follows nine out of twelve members of the Minneapolis City Council declaring their support for disbanding and dismantling the Minneapolis Police Department, which is the place where George Floyd was killed. Georgia and Minneapolis aren’t the only cities there is a nationwide push to dismantle, defund and end police departments gaining steam as a result of the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers. For example, a New York councilman has called for a $1bn divestment from the NYPD. In Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington DC, San Francisco, and other cities, local policymakers have started expressing support for some form of defunding or opposing police budget increases.
Forbes questioned whether we were heading for a new pandemic, one where police nationwide in the U.S. walkout in protest of the way they are being treated or for being held accountable whichever narrative you choose to subscribe to.