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Tampa City Council To Vote On New Police Chief

by: Jeff Patterson

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Updated:

TAMPA (WFLA) – Tampa’s City Council is set to vote on the confirmation of Police Chief Mary O’Connor on Thursday. O’Connor was named to the position in early February by Tampa Mayor Jane Castor.

Castor pointed to O’Connor’s experience in the department and her leadership when she made the appointment.

At the time, Castor told the media she didn’t expect any problems with the confirmation, but now some are calling on Tampa City Council members to vote against O’Connor.

“Her history, her past, her criminal history comes into question,” said Yvette Lewis who is the President of the Hillsborough Chapter of the NAACP.

Lewis is concerned because O’Connor was arrested for battery on a law enforcement officer in 1995 when she was a passenger in a car that was pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence. The incident happened early in O’Connor’s career and she has often said she is thankful she was given a second chance.

Yvette Lewis isn’t as forgiving.

“If it was an African American, you know what about our criminal history, you know who gives us that second chance and why should she have that second chance?” said Lewis.

The confirmation vote is now complicated this week by the resignation of Councilman John Dingfelder. Four votes are required to confirm O’Connor as police chief and the margin has become even smaller.

“The vacancy itself, hypothetically we could end up with a 3-3 tie on the confirmation of Mary O’Connor,” said Councilman Joseph Citro who declined to say how he will vote, but says if O’Connor fails to get four votes, the next move will be up to Mayor Castor.

“I think that would probably have to go back for the Mayor to resubmit Miss O’Connor if we were not able to decide one way or the other, up or down,” said Citro.

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