University of South Florida protestors face court date, felony charges

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Three of the arrested protestors join demonstrators outside of Hillsborough County Courthouse // Credit: Chris Young 5/17/2023

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Three of the demonstrators arrested after a protest at the University of South Florida faced their first court date today. Before their arraignment, they rallied with supporters outside the courthouse.

About 20 demonstrators demanded that charges be dropped for the five protestors arrested during the March 6th protest at the University of South Florida.

“We are not guilty and we are not sorry.”

Laura Rodriguez is one of those arrested. They call themselves the “Tampa Five” and 3 are charged with battery against a law enforcement officer after the protest on USF’s campus. They demanded to speak with the USF President regarding the governor’s attacks on diversity in schools. That’s when protestor Victoria Hinckley says things got physical.

“They started beating students, they started hitting us, they put students in chokeholds, I was pushed up against a wall, people were arrested, and even after we left the building, as they were telling us to, they continued to arrest people outside and continue to brutalize people outside.”

Police said that the group was trespassing, and refused to leave. They claim that one officer suffered minor injuries.

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