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On Friday, Tampa Mayor Jane Castor placed police Chief Mary O’Connor on administrative leave as the city investigated a traffic stop involving O’Connor last month. Only three days later, O’Connor has now resigned.
The now-former chief came under fire after flashing her badge and asking to be let go from a traffic stop, Tampa officials said Monday.
“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 statement from the mayor’s office.
I requested and received the resignation of @TampaPD Chief Mary O’Connor. Assistant Chief Lee Bercaw will serve as acting chief while a comprehensive national search is conducted. pic.twitter.com/xRvkclaT8z
— Jane Castor (@JaneCastor) December 5, 2022
CNN reports O’Connor was put on administrative leave after telling a deputy she was “hoping that you’ll just let us go tonight” and showed her badge.
O’Connor was a passenger in a golf cart that was pulled over for driving on a roadway without a license plate tag, footage of the November 12 incident from the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office shows.
“Assistant Chief Lee Bercaw, a widely respected, 25-year veteran of the department, will serve as acting chief while a comprehensive national search is conducted,” the mayor’s statement said.
Body camera video released Thursday shows O’Connor identifying herself to a Pinellas County sheriff’s deputy as Tampa’s chief, pulling out her badge and asking the deputy to “just let us go” after she and her husband were pulled over in a golf cart in Oldsmar on Nov. 12. The deputy, who pulled over the O’Connors because the cart did not have a license plate, let them go without a citation.
Castor added: “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 voluntarily reached out to the Tampa Police Professional Standards Bureau asking to receive the same discipline that any officer would receive for similar conduct.”
On Friday, Council members agreed that O’Connor should be placed on leave pending an investigation.
BREAKING: Just a few days after we at @cl_tampabay exposed body camera video of Tampa Police Chief Mary O’Connor using her status to get out of a traffic stop, she has resigned pic.twitter.com/adk2kvh4nP
— Justin Garcia (@JustinGarciaFL) December 5, 2022
Former Police Chief Mary O’Connor addresses her “integrity” questioned by Tampa Mayor.
The Tampa Bay Times reported O’Connor has released a statement, “In hindsight, I realize how my handling of this matter could be viewed as inappropriate, but that was certainly not my intent,” O’Connor said. “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.”
It is currently unknown exactly how long it will take to replace O’Connor, but Castor said she believes it will take several months.