Tampa, Fla. ( Associated Press) – A Tampa police chief has been placed on administrative leave after video was released of him flashing his badge from the passenger seat of a golf cart to get out of a traffic ticket.
Tampa Mayor Jan Castor on Friday placed Chief Mary O’Connor on administrative leave, pending an investigation into a Nov. 12 traffic stop in Oldsmar, a city northwest of Tampa.
Body camera video uploaded online by the Tampa Police Department shows O’Connor’s husband driving the car and the chief in the seat next to them when an assistant Pinellas County sheriff pulls them over for not having plates.
“Is the camera on?” O’Connor said. “I’m the Tampa Police Chief.” “I hope you’ll let us go tonight,” he says, showing the officer his badge.
The officer let him go without a ticket, saying, “Nice to meet you.” In a statement, O’Connor said that driving a golf cart on public roads without a license plate was an “error of judgment”.
He claimed it was the first time he had been kicked out of a golf cart-friendly community in which he owned property.
“As someone who has faced, accepted and moved on from my past mistakes, I know that no one is above the law, including me,” he said.
The mayor said an internal review is ongoing. Deputy Chief Lee Bercow will be acting chief.
“We hold everyone accountable, regardless of situation, and this behavior was unacceptable,” Castor said. “Chief O’Connor will go through due process and face appropriate discipline.”