The police chief of Tampa has resigned after body camera footage showed her flashing her badge to get out of a traffic ticket, according to CNN. Chief Mary O’Connor stepped down from her role after she was placed on administrative leave Friday (December 12) over the controversial video.
Footage shows O’Connor in the passenger seat of a golf cart her husband was driving on November 12. A Pinellas County sheriff’s deputy pulled them over in Oldsmar, a city northwest of Tampa, for not having a tag on the vehicle. As her husband was explaining to the deputy what they were doing, O’Connor says, “Is your camera on? I’m the police chief in Tampa.”
After the deputy recognizes her and asks how she’s doing, the police chief responds, “I’m hoping that you’ll just let us go tonight.” He ends up letting the couple go without a ticket, sparking an internal review nearly a month later.
“Tampa Mayor Jane Castor has requested and received the resignation of Police Chief Mary O’Connor, following the completion of an Internal Affairs investigation into a recent traffic stop involving O’Connor,” according to a Monday (December 5) statement from the mayor’s office.
Castor condemned O’Connor’s for requesting “special treatment” as the city’s top cop:
“The Tampa Police Department has a code of conduct that includes high standards for ethical and professional behavior that apply to every member of our police force. As the Chief of Police, you are not only to abide by and enforce those standards but to also lead by example. That clearly did not happen in this case,” the mayor said. “It is unacceptable for any public employee, and especially the city’s top law enforcement leader, to ask for special treatment because of their position.”
Before her resignation, O’Connor claims it was “poor judgment” that they took the golf cart out on public roads without a tag. In her resignation letter, the former police chief wrote she “would never want my personal mistake to stand in the way of the progress I have made in mending relationships between the police department and the community, so for that reason, I am resigning.”
Assistant Chief Lee Bercaw will serve as interim chief while Tampa looks for a new police chief, officials confirmed.