Tampa police chief put on leave after flashing badge during traffic stop


Tampa Police Chief Mary O’Connor’s body camera footage from a traffic stop last month shows her telling a deputy she “hopes you let us go tonight” and flashing her badge has since been placed on administrative leave.

According to video footage of the Nov. 12 incident obtained by CNN from the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, O’Connor was a passenger in a golf cart that was arrested for driving on a highway without a license plate tag. And was stopped.

Chief and her spouse were riding in a residential area in Ozmar, Florida, according to a statement released Thursday by the city of Tampa.

Body camera footage taken from a traffic stop last month.

When the deputy explained why the couple had been pulled over, O’Connor asked if the deputy’s body camera was working, then identified himself as the Tampa police chief.

“I hope you’ll spare us tonight,” O’Connor said before showing her badge to the deputy.

O’Connor apologized to the deputy, then gave him her business card. “If you need anything, call me. Seriously,” O’Connor said.

She and the deputy thanked each other for their service and the couple were allowed to leave.

O’Connor apologized for the incident in a city statement released Thursday.

“It is bad judgment that we drive golf carts on public roads without proper labeling,” O’Connor said. “This is the first time we’ve left the golf cart-friendly community where we own property for the car, which prompted us to need a license plate.”

“In hindsight, I realize my handling of the matter could be viewed as inappropriate, but it certainly wasn’t my intention. I know my conversation was videotaped and my motive was not to put the deputy in an awkward position. I Called the Pinellas County Sheriff personally and offered to pay for any possible subpoena,” she added.

“We hold everyone accountable, regardless of their stance, and this behavior is unacceptable. Commissioner O’Connor will go through due process and face appropriate disciplinary action,” Tampa Mayor Jane Custer said in an accompanying statement Thursday. said in the statement.

On Friday, Mayor Custer announced that O’Connor had been placed on administrative leave pending the results of the investigation into the traffic stop. Assistant Commissioner Lee Bercaw will serve as acting police chief, Castor said.

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