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Rick Kriseman: ‘I’ll be damned if we’re going to let violence stop us’ from celebrating St. Pete Pride weekend

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman and police Chief Anthony Holloway met with members of the community and media Thursday to reassure them that Pride weekend would go ahead as planned, but with a bit more security. The reassurances became necessary in the wake of Sunday’s shooting at the gay Pulse nightclub in Orlando that left 49 dead and more than 50 wounded. Officials said they’d gotten many questions from people wondering if the June 25 Pride parade and the June…

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Florida crime rate drops despite increase in rapes, murder

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

There was a significant increase in murders, rapes and motor vehicle thefts in Florida last year, according to crime statistics released by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement on Friday. There were 1,040 murders in Florida last year, up from 984 the year before. That includes 767 murders involving guns, an increase of 11.2 percent. That’s the most murders in Florida since 2008, when FDLE reported 1,168. There were also 7,537 reported rapes in Florida, an increase of 6.1 percent…

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Pinellas cops carry torch for Special Olympics Florida

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Law enforcement officers from across Pinellas spent much of Wednesday morning carrying a torch across the county as part of the annual Torch Run for Special Olympics Florida. They began in St. Petersburg with about 40 officers, said Sgt. Spencer Gross, spokesman for the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. By the end of the 23-mile journey at Paul B. Stephens Exceptional Education Center in Clearwater, there were more than 140 officers who ran or bicycled as part of the relay. As they…

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“Capitol Pitbull Dude” arrested at Senate Office Building

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

A man who was escorted out of a Senate committee hearing last week was arrested by Capitol police Wednesday and charged with trespassing and resisting an officer, both misdemeanors. Antonio Ringo Davis, 35, of no fixed address, was booked into the Leon County Jail, where he remained Wednesday morning. Davis caused a scene at the Senate Government Oversight and Accountability Committee on Feb. 16 as lawmakers were considering a proposal by Democratic Leader Arthenia Joyner that would have bumped up lawmakers’ annual salaries from $29,600 to…

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Florida struggling to decide next steps for notorious school

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

After a multi-year investigation, Florida is now struggling to figure out what should happen next to a now-closed reform school that was the site of horrific acts and a supposed “rape dungeon.” Researchers from the University of South Florida presented their final report Thursday to Gov. Rick Scott and other elected officials on the closed Panhandle school. The Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna was shuttered in 2011 and some former students have accused authorities of physical and…

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Recording: Woman lay in parking lot 18 minutes, later died

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

A woman who collapsed and later died after being forcibly removed from a Florida hospital lay in the parking lot beside a police officer’s car for nearly 18 minutes before a doctor readmitted her, according to police dash-cam audio and video released on Wednesday. Attorneys for the family of Barbara Dawson renewed their charges of negligence against Liberty Calhoun Hospital and Blountstown Police as multiple state agencies continue their investigation into Dawson’s Dec. 21 death. “We have heard that time…

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Florida says it has a backlog of 13,000-plus rape test kits

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

Florida has a backlog of more than 13,000 rape kits that have not been tested or submitted for processing, and managing them could cost the state tens of millions of dollars and take several years, according to a report released Monday. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement conducted the $300,000 study on the number of untested kits and will present its findings to the Legislature. Backlogs of untested rape kits have been an issue across the U.S. In September, federal…

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