Sep 17, 2021 - Politics
Tampa Police in Twitter beef with the Times
Illustration of the Twitter logo wrapped in caution tape
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The Tampa Police Department claims reporters didn't tell the whole story after the Tampa Bay Times published an investigation into the department.

The investigation: Journalists Chris O'Donnell and Ian Hodgson reported that a TPD program started under former police chief and current mayor Jane Castor urged landlords to evict hundreds of mostly Black tenants after arrests.

  • But families still lost their homes even after charges were dropped.
  • The story opens with a family who lost their home after a 16-year-old stole $4.44 in change, a glove, a flashlight, a hoodie and wireless headphones.
  • The program, meant to target "documented violent offenders, gang members or career criminals" led to the eviction of those with misdemeanors even if charges didn't stick.

The other side: TPD's Twitter account has been replying to the Times and O'Donnell's tweets about the article with videos they say tell a different story.

  • In the department's videos, two Robles Park residents describe the neighborhood as having "glass everywhere, shootings, fights, a lot of drug dealers," before the program.
  • Now, one resident said, "It's like a new day. The dealers are gone. Thank you, TPD. … Thank you Tampa Housing Authority."

Selene's thought bubble: Police departments don't usually clap back to journalists on social media, especially not to go out of the way to get citizens to speak.

  • Police may be trying to show the positive effects of their program, but it also makes them seem intimidated by the Times' report.
avatar

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Tampa Bay.

More Tampa Bay stories

No stories could be found

Tampa Baypostcard

Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Tampa Bay.