Tampa Police Chief Suspended for Flashing Her Badge During Traffic Stop
Tampa Police Chief Mary O’Connor is in some trouble and has been placed on administrative leave after she and her husband were pulled over by a Pinellas County deputy for driving a golf cart on the street without a tag last month.
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Chief O’Connor and her husband were stopped in their golf cart by a Pinellas County deputy outside of an Oldsmar neighborhood on Nov. 12. O’Connor was captured on body camera video asking if the deputy’s camera was on.
“It is,” said the deputy.
O’Connor said, “I’m the police chief in Tampa,” before flashing her badge and stating, “I’m hoping you’ll just let us go tonight.”
Because of this incident, Chief O’Connor has been placed on administrative leave until further notice. Assistant Chief Lee Bercaw will serve as acting chief pending the outcome of an investigation into the incident, Tampa Mayor Jane Castor confirmed.
“I have expressed great remorse to the Mayor, and I apologize to the residents of Tampa who have a reasonable expectation of better judgment from their chief of police”
Apparently, the knives are out, and Tampa City Councilman Bill Carlson said Chief O’Connor’s actions violate basic ethics training. He believes O’Connor should and will resign.
“What we’re taught in ethics training in government, Ethics 101, is don’t use your position to get any kind of special favors. You’re taught in particular not to mention your title or your position to try and convince anyone of anything and so it’s not a good idea to do that,” said Carlson.
‘I’M HOPING YOU’LL JUST LET US GO’: Bodycam video shows Tampa Police Chief Mary O’Connor flashing her badge and asking to get out of a ticket during a recent traffic stop. STORY: https://t.co/SbWit8fOEK pic.twitter.com/i9mSKDl7f8
— FOX 13 Tampa Bay (@FOX13News) December 1, 2022
#Florida police chief who used her badge to get out of a misdemeanor charge for hubby driving a golf cart w/o a license is now under scrutiny because she said on tape they don't live in the city she serves — violating city policy. https://t.co/FpBl4cGnGD via @CharlieFrago
— Craig Pittman (@craigtimes) December 3, 2022
Tampa Police Chief placed on administrative leave after a traffic stop in a golf cart. https://t.co/UA3RYngsti pic.twitter.com/vn2z0f3qrq
— ABC7 Sarasota (@mysuncoast) December 2, 2022
The Tampa Police Department issued a statement on the situation, saying:
“In light of Mayor Castor’s decision to place Chief Mary O’Connor on leave as the Professional Standards Bureau completes its review of an off-duty traffic stop, the department will continue operating with Assistant Chief Lee Bercaw serving as Acting Chief of Police. We have full confidence that all members of the Tampa Police Department will continue with their duties to serve the citizens of Tampa with the highest level of professionalism. The findings of the internal review will be made available upon completion.”
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