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.
Support local journalism in these crazy days. Our small but mighty team is working tirelessly to bring you up to the minute news on how Coronavirus is affecting Tampa and surrounding areas. Please consider making a one time or monthly donation to help support our staff. Every little bit helps.
Subscribe to our newsletter and follow @cl_tampabay on Twitter.