Tampa Bay law enforcement say they don’t yet know if officers were involved with Capitol insurrection

Four major local agencies says there are no investigations open.

click to enlarge Tampa Bay law enforcement say they don’t yet know if officers were involved with Capitol insurrection
Dave Decker

A recent report from the Washington Post says local law enforcement departments in California, Washington state, and Texas are “among those that have announced investigations into their officers based on tips, social media posts and other evidence. The Post added that “more officers could be identified as evidence emerges in the coming days," but for now, it appears that none of those officers will be from Tampa Bay.

On Monday, spokespeople at three local agencies—St. Petersburg Police plus Pinellas and Hillsborough Sheriffs—told Creative Loafing Tampa Bay that there’s been no indication that their officers took part in last week’s insurrection at the Capitol or traveled to Washington D.C. for Trump’s Stop the Steal Rally.

“The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office is unaware of any employees traveling to the Capitol,” Corporal Chuck Skipper, Public Information Officer at Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, wrote in an email, “and we have no further comment.”

Crystal Clark, Chief Communications Officer for the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, told CL that “At this time, there are no indications that any employees from our agency participated in the events of last week's riot at the U.S. Capitol.” Clark added the fact that the FBI is the lead agency on the insurrection incident and is working to determine the identities of the individuals involved.

St. Petersburg Police’s Manager of Community Awareness Division Yolanda Fernandez told CL that “as a rule, we don’t comment on issues involving other agencies,” but added that to date SPPD has no public records, tips, or information that any police employees attended the rally at the Capitol “Therefore there is no investigation,” Fernandez added.

CL also reached out to a Tampa Police Department public information officer about whether or not TPD received any tips about its officers being in Washington D.C. for either last week's insurrection at the Capitol or the Save America Rally—or if there were any open investigations into such matters. On Tuesday, a TPD spokesperson responded to CL's inquiry to say "NO."

Through spokesperson Clark—and in response to a second question about the stark difference in treatment of marauders at the Capitol and Washington D.C. protesters this summer’s Black Lives Matter marches—newly-re-elected Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister told CL that as a rule of thumb, he does not weigh on on decisions made by other agencies.

“My goal as Sheriff is to make sure every citizen, regardless of race, is treated fairly and every encounter my deputies have with citizens is handled appropriately,” Chronister added. “We remain consistent in listening to and respecting those who exercise their First Amendment rights in a peaceful way but make no mistake, in Hillsborough County, there will be zero tolerance for any violence or lawlessness, especially towards our local government institutions."

UPDATED: 01/12/20 5:15 p.m. Updated after TPD responded to CL's inquiry.

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About The Author

Ray Roa

Read his 2016 intro letter and disclosures from 2022 and 2021. Ray Roa started freelancing for Creative Loafing Tampa in January 2011 and was hired as music editor in August 2016. He became Editor-In-Chief in August 2019. Past work can be seen at Suburban Apologist, Tampa Bay Times, Consequence of Sound and The...
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