Charges against "Tampa Five" to be dropped
The charges against Gia Davila, Jeanie Kida, Chrisley Carpio, Laura Rodriguez and Lauren Pineiro — dubbed the "Tampa Five" by supporters after they were arrested while protesting at USF in March — will be dropped.
Why it matters: The five faced the possibility of years in prison on charges of battery against a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest without violence and disrupting a school or campus function.
- Felony charges had hung over them for much of the year, leaving the women unsure of how to plan for their future.
How we got here: Davila, Kida, Carpio, Rodriguez and Pineiro were arrested in connection with a March 6 diversity rally organized by the Tampa Bay Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) at the University of South Florida.
- The five were among a group of protesters who marched into the Patel Center to demand a meeting with USF president Rhea Law. They pleaded with her to oppose Gov. Ron DeSantis' legislative effort to ban diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives on college campuses.
- Police intervened, instructing them to leave. When they refused, the officers began grabbing students and ushering them outside, according to footage of the incident Axios reviewed. A clash followed.
Driving the news: The five agreed to a "misdemeanor intervention program," leading to the "dismissal of their charges" upon fulfilling various conditions, including community service, according to an SDS press release.
What they're saying: "This victory was made possible by months of mobilizations of people across the state of Florida," Davila told supporters outside the George E. Edgecomb Courthouse in Tampa.
- "It is because of the bravery of students and youth protesters coming out for diversity and for student protest, that these five members of Students for a Democratic Society protesters will not see a single day in prison."
The other side: "This resolution brings closure to all parties, ensuring the defendants are held accountable for their actions," the state attorney's office said in a statement.
- "It is our hope that all involved can benefit from the grace afforded them by the State Attorney's office and move on to have very successful and productive lives," a statement from USF police read. "We wish them well."
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