Family of teen shot by Tampa police wants answers

Family and friends of a teenager shot and killed by Tampa Police spoke out at Thursday’s City Council meeting.

Kobvey Igbuhay, 18, died in the early morning hours of October 26, after allegedly attempting to drown a K-9 officer and policeman following a stolen car pursuit.

“The police department is supposed to be saving lives, saving our community, saving our children,” said Harvey Igbuhay, father of Kobvey. “They were saying self-defense…It was all a lie from the bottom of my heart. No doubt about it.”

The Igbuhay family entered city council chambers together, wearing shirts with pictures of Kobvey holding a basketball trophy, his favorite sport to play.

It’s a very different picture than officers’ statements portrayed of the teenager.

His death began with a car chase. An officer tried to pull over a stolen SUV Igbuhay was driving near Nebraska and East Lake Avenues.

According to Tampa Police, Igbuhay sped away with three passengers inside, leading patrol cars and a police helicopter on a chase to a wodded area. All of the teens jumped out of the car.

A police dog spotted Igbuhay in swamp water and jumped in after him.

According to police reports, Igbuhay attempted to drown the K-9 officer by its collar. The dog was unconscious by the time a police officer spotted Igbuhay. He freed the dog, but Igbuhay allegedly began fighting off the officer as well, leading him to shoot the teenager.

“This vicious animal we know he had to weigh at least 50 pounds or more. This young man, Kobvey…5’5,’’ 120 pounds,” said Bishop Michelle B. Patty, spiritual leader to the Igbuhay family.

Family and friends claim Igbuhay was too small to fight off a large dog or an officer, and they want answers as to why the officer did not use another form of force, rather than his gun.

Igbuhay’s case is still under investigation.

It’s the kind of case the proposed Tampa Citizens Review Board will be scrutinizing once it is formed.

Mayor Bob Buckhorn has already selected seven of the 11 members for the board. City council must now select the remaining four, one from each district.

Council Chairman Frank Reddick said he does not support the proposed board because he feels each council member should have their own selection. Reddick has also stated that the people already chosen are too closely tied to the mayor.

“There’s no ordinary citizens, and it’s not reflective of the neighborhoods,” said Reddick regarding Mayor Buckhorn’s selections.

At Thursday’s meeting, council members discussed two plans for the selection process in the future.

If council cannot find a member that is qualified in each district, they will have the right to choose more than one member from another district. In addition, if a Tampa resident owns a business in a different district than he or she resides, the applicant must choose one district to apply under for the board. Residents can not apply multiple times for different districts.

Council will have a second reading of the proposed changes on November 19.