ST. PETERSBURG — A 29-year-old Tampa man who has helped organize the past three days of protests against police violence in St. Petersburg was arrested early Tuesday on a felony charge of inciting a riot, police said.
Anthony Koedel was arrested at about 1:17 a.m. at 1301 First Ave. N, outside St. Petersburg Police Department headquarters, where demonstrators have repeatedly protested in recent days and nights.
He has been organizing protests on Facebook, broadcasting them on Facebook Live and providing food and water for the crowd, according to St. Petersburg police.
Those crowds, police said in the arrest report, have repeatedly grown to more than 200 people. At times, the arrest report said, objects have been thrown at officers, rocks and bottles were thrown at the police building and the window of a cruiser was smashed. The crowd also chanted “Hey hey, ho ho, racist cops have got to go” and “Kill the killer cops.”
But after the third night of protests Monday, St. Petersburg police said protesters’ vehicles evaded concrete barriers blocking the roads around police headquarters. So officials declared an unlawful assembly and officers dispersed the crowd.
Koedel was arrested south of the police building, according to his arrest report, while carrying a backpack containing balloons and shaving cream. Police said that can be used as projectiles to “hinder” arrests.
After he was read his rights, police said Koedel told officers that he “wanted to keep it peaceful.” He was freed from the Pinellas County jail later Tuesday after posting $10,000 bail.