TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Gov. Ron DeSantis has activated the Florida National Guard after protests throughout the state turned violent Saturday night.
Helen Aguirre Ferre, a spokeswoman for the governor, said DeSantis has deployed 150 guardsmen to their facility in Miramar, 150 to Camp Blanding near Jacksonville and 100 to Tampa.
Yesterday, @GovDeSantis activated the @FLGuard. Currently there are 150 guardsmen in Miramar,150 in Camp Blanding & 100 arrived in Tampa.These specially trained units support law enforcement in many ways i.e. traffic & crowd control, all to preserve the peace & public safety.— Helen Aguirre Ferré (@helenaguirrefer) May 31, 2020
"These specially trained units support law enforcement in many ways," she said Sunday on Twitter.
Police used tear gas to try to fend off protesters outside the Miami Police Department. What began as a peaceful protest quickly escalated, resulting in several vehicles being set on fire, including at least two police cars, and leading to looting at nearby Bayside Marketplace.
Several stores were looted and a gas station was set on fire in Tampa.
A pickup truck also drove through a group of protesters in Tallahassee, although no injuries were reported. The driver was taken into custody.
The protests are in response to the death of George Floyd.