TAMPA - "I was afraid of the garage," said Heidi Damon. It was in an Ybor City parking garage where she was attacked and nearly killed getting in her car.
"I felt someone grab me from behind. Later on I would find out he did not rape me, although my underwear, my pants, and my shoes were off," said Damon.
Damon's attacker choked her until she blacked out and caused a seizure. He was caught the same day and sentenced to 15 years in prison in December. Damon's impact statement in court went viral.
"You picked the wrong woman on August 19, 2009. I survived! You have simply victimized yourself," she said.
Today, Damon is a strong supporter of using cameras, installed for the Republican National Convention, as a crime deterrent in Tampa.
But the cameras are provoking strong opposition from the ACLU and others.
"The people don't want it. Start doing your jobs,” a man interrupted during a Tampa City Council meeting Thursday. He continued, “No listen, because if I go around and start taking them down myself, I'll be the one serving the public. But I'll go to jail won't I?" before a Tampa Police Officer escorted him out of meeting.
While Damon would like to see the cameras in Ybor City, Mayor Bob Buckhorn wants to keep them downtown and there's also support to put them in other Tampa neighborhoods.
"We got to eliminate some of this crime in these high concentration areas and these neighborhood association presidents have told me they're tired of living in fear," said City Council Member Frank Reddick who represents parts of East Tampa.
Sixteen cameras are portable, but 58 around downtown and 25 more on the Tampa Police Department won't be easy or cheap to move.
"If you're going to put it in another area and you have to put up a pole, that's $10,000. Then you have to add electric to the pole, that's an additional $3,000," Captain Mike Baumaister with the Tampa Police Department told City Council.
Damon says the cameras are worth every penny.
"I think what would have been great was having a camera to catch him in the act so perhaps he would have gotten a longer sentence," she said.
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