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.
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 Buckhornhas 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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
"Tuesday's gone with the wind," sang Skynyrd. Well, thank god for small favors...
Republican Florida State House Speaker Steve Crisafulliended 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!