Tampa’s police chief on administrative go away after flashing badge at golf cart cease

The Tampa, Fla., police chief has been placed on administrative leave after showing her badge to get out of a stop for riding in a golf cart without a license plate, the city’s mayor said Friday.

Chief Mary O’Connor, who was appointed in February, has apologized for the Nov. 12 incident in Oldsmar, northwest of Tampa, which was captured on the body camera of a Pinellas County sheriff’s deputy. The video was released on Thursday.

O’Connor was a passenger in a golf cart driven by her husband that night, police said in a statement.

Tampa Police Chief Mary O’Connor in a golf cart driven by her husband in Oldsmar, northwest of Tampa November 12.Tampa PD via YouTube

Video shows O’Connor asking the deputy if his body camera is on, and when he replies that it is, she says, “I’m the police chief in Tampa.” The deputy asks how she’s doing.

“I’m doing well. I hope you’ll just let us go tonight,” O’Connor says as she opens her ID card holder and hands it to her husband, the video shows. The deputy lets her go.

The couple owns property in a “golf cart-friendly community,” O’Connor said in a statement Thursday. But vehicles outside residential areas must have license plates.

She said in the statement that it was the first time they had left the community in the golf cart and that it was “poor judgment” to drive it on a public road without proper tags.

O’Connor said she offered to pay a fine and apologized to the deputy. “I know no one is above the law, including me,” she said in a statement.

Mayor Jane Castor said Thursday that O’Connor “voluntarily approached the Tampa Police Professional Standards Bureau asking to receive the same discipline that any officer would receive for similar behavior” and that an internal review was underway .

Castor said Friday the police chief was on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation.

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