A political club over Tampa police
This article represents the opinion of the Tampa Bay Times Editorial Board.
The Tampa City Council has dueled with Mayor Jane Castor for the past year over the city’s Citizen Review Board, which oversees police conduct. This fight isn’t about policing; it’s about political power, and it’s a loser for the City Council — legally, practically and politically. There are legitimate issues to address at the Tampa Police Department. But there’s a right way and a wrong way to do everything.
The city created the board in 2015 after a Tampa Bay Times investigation found that the Tampa police had disproportionately ticketed Black bicyclists as part of a divisive policing strategy. Officers stopped Black cyclists for minor violations as a pretext for questioning and searching people in high-crime neighborhoods — a strategy that flopped as a policing tool and that the city rightly…