St. Pete Mayor, Police Chief warn out-of-town counter-protesters: Leave violence and lawlessness at home

A group of “community patriots” are planning to counter-protest in downtown St. Petersburg Saturday as groups nationwide, including in St. Pete, continue to take to the streets in outrage over the decision in the Breonna Taylor killing case.

“Patriots from around the state of Florida are joining together to help the citizens of downtown St. Pete,” Facebook user Jeff Hawks posted in a private community forum called Community Patriots Tampa. “This beautiful city needs help standing up against the weekly harassing and bullying of citizens, as well as the obstruction and blocking of roads.”

But city officials have a message for those intending to come from out of town: Just don’t.

“We don’t need your help. We didn’t ask for your help,” St. Petersburg Police Chief Anthony Holloway said during a Tuesday press conference with Mayor Rick Kriseman.

Holloway said peaceful protesters, regardless of their message, are free to protest in a legal exercise of their constitutional First Amendment right, but for those bent on destruction, “if you’re coming here to cause a problem we will arrest you.”

Kriseman took it a step further.

“Those coming from out of town to cause trouble here whether on

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