Tampa Police Chief Suspended for Playing “Don’t You Know Who I Am?”

Tampa Police Chief Suspended for Playing: Mary O’Connor did not apologize until “weeks of targeted public records requests” by a local source resulted in the acquisition of body-cam footage of her golf cart traffic stop.

Former Tampa Police Chief Banned From Duty After Being Caught Playing

After body camera footage surfaced showing Tampa Police Chief Mary O’Connor playing the “don’t you know who I am?” card when she and her husband were pulled over for driving a golf cart without registration, O’Connor was placed on administrative leave.

On Friday, Mayor Jane Castor of Tampa made the decision public after a video obtained via “weeks of targeted public records requests” was released by the local paper Creative Loafing Tampa Bay the day before.

On Twitter, Castor announced that Police Chief Mary O’Connor had been placed on administrative leave awaiting the results of an inquiry into a recent traffic stop. The mayor, who served as police chief from 2009 to 2015, has been silent on the subject of how long she will be away.

Clips obtained by Creative Loafing show Pinellas County deputy Larry Jacoby pulling over O’Connor and her husband Keith at around 7:30 p.m. on November 13. Before O’Connor displayed her badge and introduced herself as “Tampa’s police chief,” she made sure Jacoby’s camera was on. Please let us leave tonight. Before shaking her hand and sending her on her way, Jacoby said, “I think I recognize you.”

O’Connor offered her card to Jacoby and said, “If you ever need anything, phone me—seriously,” as she was dragged out into the night.

For weeks, no one mentioned the event. The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office first claimed they “couldn’t find” the body-cam footage, as reported by Creative Loafing editor Ray Roa on Twitter. Roa further claimed that the Tampa Police Department had learned of the deputies’ plans to disseminate the footage on Thursday night and had attempted to apologize before its publication.

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Tampa Police Chief Suspended for Playing
After the news broke, O’Connor sent an email to her team expressing regret and said she had made a “poor judgment” call. Creative Loafing, she stated, “In hindsight, I recognize the chat may be construed as improper, but it was certainly not my purpose.” I’ve phoned the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office and offered to cover the cost of any tickets you might receive.

Castor, who was harshly attacked earlier this year for appointing O’Connor even though she had been jailed as a rookie policeman, reinstated, and retired from the department in 2016 before returning for the top post, is likely to feel the pressure of the situation.

The circumstances surrounding O’Connor’s arrest in November 1995 were strikingly similar to those surrounding his arrest in 1995. Now her husband, Keith O’Connor, was arrested for DUI many years ago during a traffic stop on suspicion of DUI by a Hillsborough County Sheriff’s deputy.

However, O’Connor kicked the windows and attacked the arresting deputy when the pair was thrown in the back of a Hillsborough County sheriff’s car. The future leader was arrested and accused of assault, obstruction, and disorderly drunkenness. She and Keith had been fired from the Tampa Police Department but were subsequently reinstated.

The Daily Beast tried calling O’Connor on Friday, but she did not pick up. Bill Carlson, a city councilor in Tampa, said this recent instance proved that he and others were right to criticize Castor’s decision earlier this year.

He said to Creative Loafing, “This demonstrates that [Councilman Orlando] Guides and I were correct in questioning this selection and that Castor should have listened to the public criticism rather than intimidating and undermining Council connected to this decision.”

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