Tampa police chief resigns after displaying badge during traffic stop

Mary O’Connor has resigned as Tampa, Florida police chief after body camera footage showed her using her police badge to pull out of a traffic stop while driving an unmarked golf cart on November 12.

Bodycam footage shows an officer, identified by local media as the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Deputy, approaching a golf cart outside a bank in Palm Harbor. The agent explains that he stopped the vehicle because it was driving without a tag.

O’Connor, seen in the footage sitting in the passenger seat next to her husband, asks, “Is your camera on?” what the deputy confirms. O’Connor then said, “I’m the Tampa police chief,” adding, “I hope you let us go tonight.”

Near the end of the stop, O’Connor hands his business card to the deputy, saying, “If you ever need anything, call me – seriously.”

According to a police disposition, O’Connor and her husband were released with a verbal warning.

O’Connor brought the incident to the attention of Tampa City Mayor Jane Castor on Nov. 30, according to a police disposition. An internal investigation was opened and O’Connor was placed on administrative leave on December 2.

On December 4, the internal investigation found that O’Connor violated Tampa Police Department policy during the traffic stop. She had resigned on Dec. 5, the city of Tampa said. Credit: Tampa Police Department via Storyful

Video Transcript

[NO AUDIO]

[CAR ENGINE RUNS]

[SIREN TWEETS]

LARRY JACOBY: [INAUDIBLE] Holster, 10-50.

To chase.

LARRY JACOBY: East Lake Service Road, Woodlands Parkway, it’s gonna be a golf cart, no tag.

[DOOR CLOSES]

Good evening.

Hey, it’s [? something. ?]

LARRY JACOBY: All right, I’m Deputy Jacoby from the sheriff’s office. Stopped you for driving an unregistered tag or vehicle without a tag on the road.

Yes, we were… we went to the club, it was closed. So we went and got some–

MARY O’CONNOR: Is your camera on?

LARRY JACOBY: He is.

MARY O’CONNOR: I’m the Tampa police chief.

LARRY JACOBY: How are you ?

MARY O’CONNOR: I’m doing well.

LARRY JACOBY: OKAY.

MARY O’CONNOR: I hope you’ll let us go tonight.

LARRY JACOBY: Ah OK. Yeah, I’ll say– now just say, you look familiar, so–

MARY O’CONNOR: Yeah, I’m sure.

LARRY JACOBY: Okay, so okay, folks, have a good night. Just got here in East Lake Woodlands?

Yeah.

MARY O’CONNOR: We live in East Lake Woodlands.

LARRY JACOBY: OK, agreed. It is a pleasure to meet you. [CHUCKLES]

OKAY.

LARRY JACOBY: I’m Deputy Jacoby.

MARY O’CONNOR: Same here, my friend.

LARRY JACOBY: OK.

MARY O’CONNOR: Take care of yourself.

LARRY JACOBY: Alright, take care of yourself.

MARY O’CONNOR: Sorry to disturb you.

LARRY JACOBY: Alright, no worries, no worries. So we have a lot of issues with the golf cart here. You know, everyone goes out.

Normally we don’t go out, but…

MARY O’CONNOR: We never go out.

The club was closed.

MARY O’CONNOR: We never ever–

We went to the Greek restaurant for food, and…

LARRY JACOBY: Understood, okay. OK. All right, then, take care of yourself. And it was nice to meet you.

OK.

LARRY JACOBY: Ah. Very good.

MARY O’CONNOR: If you ever need anything, call me.

LARRY JACOBY: OKAY.

MARY O’CONNOR: Serious.

LARRY JACOBY: OK. I appreciate that.

MARY O’CONNOR: Thanks.

LARRY JACOBY: Yes, madam, you are always welcome.

MARY O’CONNOR: Thank you for your service.

LARRY JACOBY: Thanks for yours.

MARY O’CONNOR: Thanks.

LARRY JACOBY: So take care of yourself.

Very well. Thanks.

MARY O’CONNOR: Take care of yourself.

LARRY JACOBY: Have a good night, friends. Holster again, 10-8. [COUGHS]

MARY O’CONNOR: Good night.

LARRY JACOBY: You also.

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