TAMPA, Fla. - We’ve all seen the daily protests and the passionate calls for change and so has Tampa's mayor.
“I am here to listen and I clearly understand there’s a great deal of anger and frustration. And if it needs to be directed at an individual, then direct it at me,” said Jane Castor.
The mayor says she hears the demonstrators’ calls for change and now change is coming to the Tampa Police Department.
“I believe good can come from these difficult times we are in right now,” Castor, a former TPD chief, continued.
No longer will officer-involved shootings be investigated by TPD’s internal affairs division. Instead, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement will investigate all officer-involved shootings, effective immediately.
The mayor will put in place a new policy that “instructs” an officer to intervene when they witness another officer using excessive force.
The chokehold ban, already in place, will be clearly spelled out in the new policy.
And a new community task force will be created. The 40-member panel will include local Black leaders and clergy, TPD officials, and members of the community.
Recently, some spiritual leaders, including Bishop Thomas Scott with the 34th Street Church of God, discussed how cultural change can happen when we all start listening.
“That we heal our city, we heal our state, we heal our nation. So there’ll be ongoing dialogue," explained Bishop Scott.