Jul 29, 2021 - News

Tampa police in hot water over "fake operation" at strip club

Photo: Ben Montgomery/Axios

The Tampa Police Department is in some more hot water.

  • A Citizens Review Board hearing this week, first reported by Fox 13, resulted in the discipline of Sgt. Daniel Rhodes, who was accused of running a "fake operation" to "blow money and have fun" at a strip club last year.

Why it matters: The finding comes at an especially turbulent time for TPD, which has been criticized for its increased use of force and chemical agents while nabbing the biggest budget increase among all U.S. metro areas.

What happened: Internal Affairs said the investigation in question was intended to find illegal drug operations at The Gold Club and get information on a shooting suspect with ties to one of the club’s dancers.

  • But the operational plan did not mention the shooting or the suspect, and officers involved gave conflicting statements on the objective of the investigation.
  • The investigation yielded no results, but officers said they spent $421 on the club’s cover charge, drinks for themselves, dancers and friends as well as shots for the bartender, a pack of cigarettes, a charge for the lap dance area and a lap dance for each officer.

The consequences: Rhodes was shifted to a day squad and suspended for one day. No other officers were penalized.

  • The Tampa Bay Times notes Rhodes was formerly suspended by TPD in 2013 for trying to get a suspect's attention by nudging them with the barrel of his gun, which is considered excessive use of force.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to show the strip club was not in Ybor City.


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