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Tampa Police Chief Used Status to Get Out of Traffic Stop

Tampa placed its police chief on administrative leave after officer-worn camera footage showed her using her position as chief to get out of a traffic stop on Nov. 12, USA Today reports. Chief Mary O’Connor and her spouse were riding in a golf cart in Oldsmar, Fl., near Tampa, when they were stopped by a Pinellas County, Florida Sheriff deputy for not having a license plate, the Tampa Police Department said. O’Connor asks the deputy “Are you recording,” and then tells him “I’m the police chief in Tampa... I’m hoping that you’ll just let us go tonight,” as she shows him her badge. “You looked familiar,” the deputy responds, before letting the couple go. "It was poor judgment on our part to be driving a golf cart on a public roadway without the appropriate tags,” O’Connor said.


 “I knew my conversation was on video, and my motive was not to put the deputy in an uncomfortable position. I have personally called the Pinellas County Sheriff offering to pay for any potential citation.” O’Connor said in the statement she expressed "great remorse" for the incident to Tampa Mayor Jane Castor. "We hold everyone accountable, no matter their position, and this behavior was unacceptable,” Castor said.  “Chief O'Connor will go through the due process and face appropriate discipline." Castor said O’Connor would be placed on leave while an investigation was completed. An assistant police chief will serve as interim chief.

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