Political leaders, demonstrators call for charges to be dropped in USF diversity protest case

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State Rep. Anna Eskamani (D-Orlando) speaks outside of the Hillsborough County Courthouse

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Demonstrators and political leaders rallied in Tampa this morning, demanding charges to be dropped for protesters facing court after challenging the University of South Florida’s diversity policies.

Demonstrators chanted outside of the downtown Tampa courthouse where the self-proclaimed Tampa 5 faced their next court hearing.

Defendants were arrested in March while protesting new laws limiting diversity issues at USF. Some face felony charges, including battery on a law enforcement officer.

Democratic State Representative Anna Eskamani from Orlando called for their charges to be dropped.

“The fact that we have a DeSantis-appointed state attorney that is going to attempt to put these kids in prison is disgusting”

The Tampa 5 claimed that they were offered a plea deal. But, it would have required them to admit guilt and apologize to the police in exchange for the possibility of dropped charges. They declined.

Democrat Pat Kemp is a Hillsborough County commissioner.

“We stand here with you all. And I’m sure most of Hillsborough County stands here with you all.”

They are expected to go to trial December 12th.

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