I-Team: HART supervisor fears for his job after helping 2 Tampa Police Officers in distress

HART placed him under investigation after helping
Posted at 6:44 PM, May 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-05 18:44:18-04

Cameras captured a suspect attacking two Tampa Police officers and a HART employee rushing to help.

On surveillance video obtained by the I-Team, 2 female officers can be seen struggling to handcuff a suspect.
Things started to get ugly---one officer was shoved to the ground, the other pushed down. Then the man punched the officer in the face. One officer said the man tugged at her gun 4 times.

"You could see through the window his hand on the gun," said Carl Baer, a cab driver who witnessed it. "The clip ended up coming out of the gun laying on the ground, so he had his hand on it enough to release the clip."

In the video, another man with a white shirt is seen stepping in to help while officers continued to struggle, others joined in to help as well.

"The first thing that really turned things in our favor was when he came in and put a bear hug on the guy and we really applaud him for doing that," said Steve Hegarty with Tampa PD.

According to police, the suspect is well known to police and has been arrested several times.

While Tampa Police applaud him, HART administrators began investigating him.

Tim Martin is a HART transit supervisor. He's been there 6 years with a clean record. He was in shock when he got a letter from HART stating he was under investigation and could face disciplinary action.

John Sholtes is his union rep. with Teamsters Local 79. John told us, "He's concerned for his job he's been put on investigation he doesn't know where this is going to lead and he doesn't know if his employer is going to try and terminate him at this point, so he's obviously quite concerned."

We spoke with Sandra Morrison who is with HART about the incident.

Reporter: "What is it HART thought this guy did wrong?" 
Morrison: "The communication gap."

Morrison explained, "There was a stretch of time we did not hear from our transit supervisor so I mean we don't know if his life could've been in danger something could've happened, so we needed to know what had happened around that stretch of time."

Sholtes isn't buying it, "What I understand is it was a heroic act and what I don't understand is what there is to be disciplined for, it just doesn't seem to make sense to us."

Two days after we started asking questions, HART officials told us they were closing the investigation.

Morrison explained, "There's no disciplinary action going to be taken, we are going to be speaking to him just to make sure that if ever there's an event like this in the future that there's proper communication."

While HART executives said no disciplinary action will take place, they said they will use this scenario to train other supervisors in the future. 

Meanwhile Tampa Police are considering giving Martin an award sometime soon.


Jarrod Holbrook is an Emmy and AP Award-winning Investigative Reporter for the ABC Action News I-Team.

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