Law & Order

When Tampa was announced as the site of the 2012 Republican National Convention, law enforcement expected thousands of protestors to arrive with it.

The Tampa Bay Times recently reported part of law enforcement’s preparation included undercover officers infiltrating protest groups and working their way up into leadership roles.

Staff writer Richard Danielson wrote that story for the Times.  Danielson spoke with WGCU about how he found out about the story and what he learned about the operation.  


Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

The University of South Florida's investigation of the Dozier School for Boys is reaching a critical point, but developments continue to give researchers greater insight into what happened at the troubled reform school.

MGN Online

Two Republican lawmakers Monday filed proposals that would allow people with concealed-weapons licenses to carry guns on college and university campuses, setting the stage for a renewed debate about the controversial issue.

Senate Criminal Justice Chairman Greg Evers, R-Baker, and Rep. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, filed the bills (SB 68 and HB 4001) for lawmakers to consider during the 2016 legislative session, which starts in January.

Scott Gets Final Decision on Fine for Lt. Gov.

Jul 26, 2015

Former Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll has described her exit from office more than two years ago as a "knee jerk reaction" by Gov. Rick Scott.

Now, Scott will get the final say in Carroll having to pay a $1,000 fine to resolve allegations she did not properly report income from consulting work that led to her sudden resignation.

The state Commission on Ethics on Friday unanimously, and without comment, agreed to support the fine as part of an agreement with Carroll.

Protests for $15 Minimum Wage in St. Petersburg

Jul 23, 2015
Yoselis Ramos

A couple dozen protesters chanted their slogans at the St. Petersburg City Hall Thursday morning, in support of raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.  Among the protestors was Sade Reed, a Certified Nursing Assistant and she's a single mother to her 5 year old daughter. She said she lives paycheck to paycheck. 

"What I do is very important and I enjoy what I do," she said, "So I take care of your family, why can't I take care of mine?"

Group Moves Forward with Sales Tax Increase Plan

Jul 17, 2015
HART

Three mayors from Hillsborough County cities are joining forces with several county commissioners and the chairman of Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART) to discuss a possible sales tax increase. Part of a plan called the GO Hillsborough initiative would increase the county sales tax by a half cent, with a majority of that money going towards road maintenance and improvements. 

Confederate Flag at County Center Comes Down

Jul 15, 2015
Wiki Commons

Hillsborough County Commissioners unanimously voted on Wednesday to bring down the confederate flag display at the County Center in Tampa. 

Commissioner Les Miller, the only black commissioner on the board, proposed a motion to take down the flag. Commissioner Stacy White provided a counter argument and wanted to leave the issue up to a referendum for voters to decide.

MDSHA W8-72

 The Ybor City campus of Hillsborough Community College will have special guests this evening. Tonight, the Federal Department of Justice’s C.O.P.S. Office, or Community Oriented Policing Services, will be holding a community listening session to listen to people concerned about the Tampa Police Department’s bike policing strategies.

Brendan Fitterer / AP Photo/Pool, Tampa Bay Times

A judge has recused himself from the trial of a former Tampa police captain accused of fatally shooting a man during an argument over texting in a Pasco County movie theater.

Pasco Circuit Court Judge Pat Siracusa filed the order Tuesday. Circuit Judge Susan Barthle is now assigned to the case.

Siracusa issued a notice of removing himself after a hearing last week in which he appeared aggravated over repeated delays.

In a case that started with a tourist brandishing a gun during a traffic dispute, the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday said people who use the state's controversial "stand your ground" legal defense have the burden of proving they should be shielded from prosecution.

The 5-2 ruling dealt with a key part of the way the state has carried out the "stand your ground" law, which in part provides immunity to people who use justifiable force in self-defense.

Florida Gets Biggest Chunk of Chase Settlement

Jul 8, 2015
Yoselis Ramos

The bank giant JP Morgan Chase is changing its credit card debt collection practices after a lawsuit involving Florida's and 46 other state attorney generals.  Florida is getting the largest chunk of the $136 million settlement. 

Florida Chase customers who were affected by the company's debt collection practices are receiving $4.6 million  in restitution. Chase has been accused of illegal tactics like robo-signing - signing lots of documents without actually reviewing records.

 

Tampa Responds to Gun Violence Spike

Jul 6, 2015
Yoselis Ramos

Responding to a surge in gun deaths, Tampa police say they will increase patrols through East and West Tampa, where a higher concentration of the gun violence is happening.

"It's just this particular spike in violent crime is obviously very concerning so we're doing even more than what we traditionally do," Andrea Davis with the Tampa Police Department said. "We want to have that very visible police presence to deter some of this violent crime."

A federal grant received last year will cover overtime pay, she said.

By Ben Ostrowsky via Wikimedia Commons

Tampa city council members learned Thursday they can not sue the state for its planned widening of Interstate 275. 

 

Council members wanted to know if they could sue to stop the Florida Department of Transportation from adding an express lane through Tampa Heights.

 Tampa City attorney Sal Territo said only people can sue, not another governmental body.

Associated Press

The Ruskin man who flew a gyrocopter through some of America's most restricted airspace before landing outside the U.S. Capitol said Monday that he's rejected a plea deal that would have involved several years in prison.

 He declined to give specifics of ongoing negotiations but said that if prosecutors continue to insist on "significant hard jail time," his case will go to trial.

Wikimedia Commons

A 55-year-old man on death row for the murder of a Pasco County waitress will soon walk free.

The Florida Supreme Court ruled Thursday that there wasn't enough evidence to convict Derral Hodgkins for the 2006 murder of 46-year-old Teresa Lodge.

Lodge was found dead in her Land O'Lakes apartment.

She had been beaten, strangled and stabbed multiple times.

Hodgkins' skin was found under her fingernails, but investigators didn't find a weapon or other evidence that placed Hodgkins at the scene.

Tampa Hosting Gun Buyback Program

Jun 18, 2015
Alex Borland, Wikipedia Commons

As a part of a summer initiative, the City of Tampa is hosting an anonymous gun buyback event next week aiming to curb gun violence. Any Hillsborough County resident can bring in their handguns, rifles and shotguns in exchange for $50 cash per weapon, no questions asked. 

A bill aimed at toughening Florida’s human trafficking laws will become law in a few months, following Governor Rick Scott’s signing. It increases the penalties for soliciting another for prostitution.

Bay News 9

U.S. Representative Dennis Ross and Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd have introduced a bill that would allow businesses whose workers interact with children to screen potential employers with polygraph testing.

As Florida lawmakers continue to iron out how much funding will go toward the state’s troubled prison system, some are hopeful there will be enough to cover staffing levels and deteriorating buildings.

According to recent national reports, there are thousands of untested rape kits around the U.S.—leading to a backlog of unsolved cases. The Florida Legislature is now considering putting thousands of dollars into a statewide rape kit assessment.

Pages