Florida Police Release Video Of Protesters Blocking Crosswalk While Non-Emergency Ambulance Waited

Protesters who were demonstrating in a crosswalk in St. Petersburg, Florida, were noted by the St. Petersburg Police Department because they refused to stop while a fire-rescue ambulance, which may not have had its lights and sirens on, was waiting to cross through the intersection.

The police department released a video of the incident in which the ambulance can be seen driving up behind a car waiting for the protesters, who were demonstrating in front of the St. Petersburg Police Department station, to let it through the intersection.

Police said the ambulance was attempting to get through the intersection; it can be seen in the video inching up to the car in front of it before the driver finally turns down another street.

“The entire length of the video is 39 seconds. During the incident, the fire-rescue vehicle does not appear to have lights and sirens on,” WTSP noted, adding, “St. Pete Fire Rescue said the ambulance was not on an emergency call at the time.”

According to the St. Petersburg police, they have received 413 complaint calls to their Emergency Communications Center vis-à-vis protesters blocking traffic through July 7. They added, “This does not count the numerous phone calls and emails sent to individual police supervisors and officers and messages received through the department’s social media platforms.”

The police added that in the last three weeks almost 80 phone calls and emails have reached Mayor Rick Kriseman’s office regarding protesters blocking streets while the City Council got 15 complaints in the last 10 days.

On July 7, the police department announced on Facebook:

Reminder- Pedestrians Must Follow the Law Too!

Pedestrians

  • Must use sidewalk when possible, Florida Statute 316.130 (3)

  • May not obstruct or hinder traffic, Florida Statute 316.2045(1)

  • Must obey traffic signals, Florida Statute 316.075 (1) (C) 2b

The department added, “You could be fined $62.50.”

Florida Statute §316.2045 states, “It is unlawful for any person or persons willfully to obstruct the free, convenient, and normal use of any public street, highway, or road by impeding, hindering, stifling, retarding, or restraining traffic or passage thereon, by standing or approaching motor vehicles thereon, or by endangering the safe movement of vehicles or pedestrians traveling thereon; and any person or persons who violate the provisions of this subsection, upon conviction, shall be cited for a pedestrian violation, punishable as provided in chapter 318.”

RapidSOS notes:

The evidence from the literature concludes that for every minute delay in primary response for certain life – threatening medical emergencies, there is a measurable effect on mortality. The research is conclusive especially for the first 5 minutes in the response interval, where rapid intervention makes the greatest difference. Critical medical intervention can be performed by professional responders or bystanders who receive instructions from 9-1-1 call takers over the phone. For critical medical incidents such as cardiac and neurological emergencies, together composing around 5% of 9-1-1 calls, a mere one minute delay in response time increases the mortality rate by 1 to 2%.

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