TAMPA -- Police chief Mary O'Connor is apologizing and saying she exercised "poor judgment" following the release of bodycam video from a Pinellas deputy.
It shows her apparently using her position to try to talk her way out of a traffic citation.
The incident happened the evening of November 12, just before 7:30 p.m. near a home that O' Connor and her husband own in the Oldsmar area. They were stopped by a Deputy Jacoby while riding in a golf cart without a tag.
The video shows the deputy identifying himself, telling the couple why he pulled them over. "Is your camera on?," O' Connor asks. "I'm the police chief in Tampa... I'm hoping that you'll just let us go tonight." O'Connor flashed her badge at the deputy.
From the video, it appears no citation was issued,
O'Connor issued a statement that read: "It was poor judgment on our part to be driving a golf cart on a public roadway without the appropriate tags. This was the first time we had exited the golf-cart friendly community in which we own property with this vehicle, prompting the need for a license plate.In hindsight, I realize how my handling of this matter could be viewed as inappropriate, but that was certainly not my intent. 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. I have expressed great remorse to the Mayor, and I apologize to the residents of Tampa who have a reasonable expectation of better judgment from their chief of police. As someone who has dealt with, taken ownership of and grown from my past mistakes, I know that no one is above the law, including me."
Directly below it was a statement from Mayor Jane Castor: "We hold everyone accountable, no matter their position, and this behavior was unacceptable. Chief O'Connor will go through the due process and face appropriate discipline."
Chief O'Connor has asked the Professional Standards Bureau to apply any discipline that any officer would receive for similar conduct.
As a young TPD officer, O'Connor was charged with battery on a police officer during a DUI arrest in 1995, was fired and then rehired and served 20 years on the force. She was named police chief earlier this year.
See video of the traffic stop below:
Photos: City of Tampa/ Canva