Friday, May 1, 2015

Okay, we can all go home now: 6 officers charged in Freddie Gray death

Posted By on Fri, May 1, 2015 at 1:10 PM


Baltimore State Attorney Marylin Mosby - TWITTER
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  • Baltimore State Attorney Marylin Mosby

Days after Baltimore boiled over in protests and rioting over the death of a young black man who died in police custody, Baltimore State Attorney Marilyn Mosby has announced there will be charges against six officers in the death of Freddie Gray.

"We have probable cause to file criminal charges," Mosby said in a press conference Friday.


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Sh*t happened 5/1/15: Buckhorn chooses wisely, the Bucs not so much

Posted By on Fri, May 1, 2015 at 9:00 AM

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Thursday was the ultimate mixed bag — Tampa's leadership invested its future in a role model, while the hometown NFL team demonstrated it doesn't give a shit about honorable qualities so long as the touchdowns rack up.

Mayor Bob Buckhorn has named 26-year force veteran and current Assistant Police Chief Eric Ward to succeed Jane Castor as Tampa's top cop. You can side-eye all you want about the timing of hiring an African American chief while the TPD is being investigated by the DOJ for possible racial bias in one of its programs, but Ward seems like the city's best bet for bridging the chasm between the postcard come-on vision of "Riverwalk Tampa" and the realities of some of its less fortunate neighborhoods, and that can only be a good thing.


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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Tampa Council could block new police chief over department targeting black cyclists

Posted By on Thu, Apr 30, 2015 at 10:30 PM

That lil' story about a Tampa police practice of targeting African Americans who ride bicycles in low-income neighborhoods isn't going away like some city officials probably wish it would.

About half an hour after the close of a press conference touting Mayor Bob Buckhorn's newest hire, probably-soon-to-be Tampa Police Chief Eric Ward, activists from the ACLU and numerous other organizations, as well as a couple of City Council members, called on the city to halt the practice, at least until a U.S. Department of Justice has time to determine whether or not it's legal.

Rev. Dr. Russell Meyer decries predatory police practices, with Council Chair Frank Reddick (middle)  and Warren Hope Dawson (right).
  • Rev. Dr. Russell Meyer decries predatory police practices, with Council Chair Frank Reddick (middle) and Warren Hope Dawson (right).

Ward had said earlier he supports the policy even though he's African American and was born and raised in East Tampa, one of the areas targeted.

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As expected, police chief is veteran Tampa officer

Posted By on Thu, Apr 30, 2015 at 7:21 PM

Assistant police Chief Eric Ward steps into the limelight Thursday.
  • Assistant police Chief Eric Ward steps into the limelight Thursday.
Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn spoke to a crowded house at a press conference on the main floor of the Tampa Police Department's headquarters in downtown Tampa today.

Most cheered his announcement that Assistant Police Chief Eric Ward, a 26-year veteran and East Tampa native, will serve as the city's next police chief.

"Our next chief is a product of this community, and product of a neighborhood where perhaps becoming a police officer was not looked upon too favorably," Buckhorn said. "He is the product of Tampa schools, he has moved through the ranks and served ably through every job he has ever been given at the Tampa Police Department. Not just ably, but he excelled."

The conference seemed to start out as more of a send-off for his well-liked predecessor than an introduction to Ward. Current Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor, who has been in her position since 2010, is retiring early next month. While Buckhorn spoke highly of Ward, he also said he lamented Castor's departure.

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Pier groups: a look at who’s backing which pier designs, and who's up for a fight.

Posted By on Thu, Apr 30, 2015 at 3:57 PM

IT’S #1, FOR NOW: A Pier Park rendering. - ASD DESIGN
  • ASD design
  • IT’S #1, FOR NOW: A Pier Park rendering.

St. Pete City Hall is gearing up for what will probably be another very long yet monumental meeting about the Pier on Thursday, May 7. On the agenda is a measure that would begin the negotiation process between the city and ASD/Rogers Partners/Ken Smith Landscape Architect, the group that collaborated on Pier Park. The mayor-appointed Pier Selection Committee ranked Pier Park first of the three design proposals it shortlisted in March.

Expect there to be calls for the council to opt for Destination St. Pete Pier, the design that overwhelmingly ranked first in more than one public survey and second by the selection committee. The committee ranked Alma, the third design, last after initially expressing preference for the design, which unlike the other two completely replaces the inverted pyramid.


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Stationed here: new WMNF station manager Craig Kopp wants to spread the word about community radio

Posted By on Thu, Apr 30, 2015 at 3:41 PM

When Craig Kopp first started as the All Things Considered host at WUSF in 2011, he sounded like an old-school newsman, more button-down and just-the-facts than rock ‘n’ roll.

Yet, like many on-air personalities, he doesn’t look much like he sounds, aside from the head of grey hair his authoritative
voice suggests.
TOP KOPP: “The big transition is sitting in this chair instead of sitting in a broadcasting booth in front of a microphone.” - KATE BRADSHAW
  • Kate Bradshaw
  • TOP KOPP: “The big transition is sitting in this chair instead of sitting in a broadcasting booth in front of a microphone.”


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Sh*t happened 4/30/15: Bolts win, gangs, Walmart protest, Sean Daly leaves the Times

Posted By on Thu, Apr 30, 2015 at 8:56 AM

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Hey, you know what? Let's get right to it — Wednesday, by the bullets:

The Bolts shut out the Red Wings 2-0 in the final game of the quarterfinals, and will advance to a semifinal series against the Montreal Canadiens, who are probably politely shocked that they've gotta play another postseason series against a hockey team from the swampy southern crotch-joint of America.

Nearly a dozen members of the gang known as the Norte 14, originally arrested in 2013, have been or will be sentenced after accepting plea deals for crimes that range from robbery to homicide. If you're wondering why known gang members were offered plea deals at all after an investigation that spanned ten months and must have amassed a wealth of incriminating evidence, feel free to invite me over for drinks and a conversation about the magical place where budget constraints, bleeding hearts, the Constitution and stymied hard-case legislators all come together, and almost everybody loses.

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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Packed room talks race, decries 'biking while black'

Posted By on Wed, Apr 29, 2015 at 11:03 PM

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn addresses the large crowd ahead of the forum.
  • Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn addresses the large crowd ahead of the forum.

You can't solve poverty and systemic racism in the span of three hours, but high-profile Tampa lawyer Barry Cohen damn sure wanted to try.


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Three longtime newsmen depart area papers all in the same week

Posted By on Wed, Apr 29, 2015 at 6:00 PM

Here is Sean Daly. With a baby goat. - FACEBOOK
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  • Here is Sean Daly. With a baby goat.
The Tampa Bay area's two top dailies, the Tampa Tribune and the Tampa Bay Times, lost some heavy-hitters this week.

It was announced last week that the Trib lost business reporter Rich Mullins to PR firm Tucker Hall.

Monday, multiple news outlets reported that energy reporter Ivan Penn is leaving the Times for to cover energy for the Los Angeles Times.

Earlier today, Times entertainment writer Sean Daly announced he's leaving the paper for television, which he said would put him in 96 million homes, but he did not announce what his venue will be.

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Sh*t happened 4/29/15: Florida House quits, Rays-Orioles moved to St. Pete, UF frat closed

Posted By on Wed, Apr 29, 2015 at 9:00 AM

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"Tuesday's gone with the wind," sang Skynyrd. Well, thank god for small favors...

Republican Florida State House Speaker Steve Crisafulli ended the House's legislative session three days early over the impasse between the House and Senate's state budget bills. Like a spoiled six-year-old at a birthday party for a hated classmate his parents forced him to attend. Professional!

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