‘I’m the police chief’: Body cam video shows Florida cop try to evade traffic stop for unlicensed golf cart

A Florida police chief has been put on leave after body camera footage caught her using her rank to get out of a police traffic stop for driving a golf cart without tags.

On Friday, Tampa mayor Jane Castor announced the city’s police chief, Mary O’Connor, had been put on “administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation.”

In video obtained by Creative Loafing Tampa Bay, a Pinellas County sheriff’s deputy stops Ms O’Connor and her husband as they drive a cart on the evening of 13 November.

“Is your camera on?” Ms O’Connor asks the deputy, Larry Jacoby, while gritting her teeth. “I’m the police chief from Tampa... I’m hoping that you’ll just let us go tonight.”

As the officers chat, Deputy Jacoby acknowledges, “We have a lot of problems with the golf carting around here, everybody comes out,” before letting the couple go.

“If you ever need anything call me—I’m serious,” Chief O’Connor tells the officer, handing him her card before the two shake hands and thank each other for their service.

Once the video was released, O’Connor admitted in an email to the department she showed “poor judgment,” Creative Loafing reported.

“In hindsight, I realise that conversation could be viewed as inappropriate, but that was certainly not my intent,” she wrote. “I’ve personally called the Pinellas County Sheriff Office offering to pay for any potential citation.”

The Independent has contacted the Pinellas County Sheriff’s office for comment about whether the deputy is facing any discipline for giving the chief a pass.

Chief O’Connor has gotten in trouble with traffic stops in the past.

In 1995, as a rookie cop, her husband, also a police officer, was pulled over on suspicion of a DUI by Hillsborough County sheriffs and charged with drink driving.

As Ms O’Connor was put in the back of a police car, she punched a deputy and kicked the windows, for which she was later charged with assault, obstruction and disorderly intoxication.

She and her husband were both kicked off then reinstated to the Tampa police force.