Tampa’s police chief resigned in disgrace weeks after she tried to use her influence to escape a ticket when her husband was pulled over in an unregistered golf cart.
Mary O’Connor, 51, submitted her resignation effective immediately on Monday after internal affairs found she violated departmental policies when she flashed her badge at a Pinellas County deputy on Nov. 12 and asked him to “just let us go.“
“I never want my personal mistake to stand in the way of the progress I have made in mending relationships between the police department and the community, so for that reason, I am resigning,” her resignation letter said in part, according to Fox 13 News.
The departure came three days after O’Connor was put on leave in connection with the incident after bodycam footage of her trying to bigfoot the deputy in Oldsmar, Fla., was released.
The footage showed that O’Connor was riding in a golf cart without registration driven by her husband in the seaside community about 15 miles outside the city.
“Is your camera on? I’m the police chief in Tampa,” O’Connor said, while flashing her badge.
“I’m hoping that you’ll just let us go tonight,” the law enforcement veteran asked the deputy, according to the footage.
After the cop obliged, O’Connor handed him her card, saying, “If you ever need anything, call me. Serious. Thank you.”
The golf cart traffic stop incident came 10 months after O’Connor had been elevated to chief in Tampa.
Prior to her resignation, the former top cop had said she was remorseful about her behavior, which she claimed was a result of “poor judgment.”
“This was the first time we had exited the golf-cart friendly community in which we own property with this vehicle, prompting the need for a license plate.
“In hindsight, I realize how my handling of this matter could be viewed as inappropriate, but that was certainly not my intent,” O’Connor said in a Friday statement.
“I knew my conversation was on video, and my motive was not to put the deputy in an uncomfortable position,” she continued. “I have personally called the Pinellas County Sheriff offering to pay for any potential citation.”
Assistant Chief Lee Bercaw had been named acting chief amid the investigation.
O’Connor had been tapped last winter by Mayor Jane Castor, a former police chief, to fill the vacant top job, but her appointment was not without controversy.
She had been fired from the department after being accused of punching a deputy during a DUI stop in 1995 with her future husband in tow, according to the local Fox affiliate.
Castro said in a statement Monday she was especially disappointed in O’Connor’s behavior because she had given her a “second chance.”