TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Police Benevolent Association held a news conference on Friday to protest images used in mail flyers blasting Tampa Mayoral candidate Jane Castor.
The mailers and digital ads feature then-Police Chief Castor wearing a “thin blue line” black mourning band on her badge.
Fallen Tampa Police Officer Dave Curtis' widow Kelly Curtis-Stout said, "What's most disturbing is that those responsible for the ad chose to use the photo of Jane that was taken during the time she
and all of us in Tampa were mourning the death of our officers, my husband, David Curtis, and his partner, Jeff Kocab."
"I understand politics and I understand campaigns, but think of others and how that's going to affect the lives of the fallen officers' families," said President Tampa Police Benevolent Association Abe Carmack.
One of the mailer’s headlines reads “This is Obvious Racial Profiling,” referring to a U.S. Department of Justice investigation into Castor’s policy regarding stopping bicyclists in East Tampa.
Another mailer shows Castor wearing the same “thin blue line” black mourning band on her badge with a headline that reads, “The reason you have red light cameras in Tampa.”
The group that paid for the flyers is called “Tampa’s Bright Future” and is classified as an ECO or an Electioneering Communications Organization. According to the State of Florida, an ECO is any group other than a “political party or political committee whose election-related activities are limited to making expenditures for electioneering communications or accepting contributions.”
“Tampa’s Bright Future” is linked to a P.O. Box which is also associated with David Straz’s campaign office.
ABC Action News reached out to the Straz campaign for comment and they released the following statement:
The campaign’s criticism on Jane Castor has been focused on the “Biking while black” scandal under her watch, her stance on Red Light Cameras and that is it.
Worth noting, Jane Castor is campaigning on her experience as a police chief. She has used her uniform in commercials and advertising. Castor has repeatedly said she will run this city like she ran the police department. So questioning her record as Police Chief is fair game.
Our campaign has never said anything about the tragic death of 2 police officers.
We would never highlight or point out anything related to that tragic day.
The image in question was taken by the Associated Press and used in an article from Politico highlighting Who’s Who in Tampa on August 2, 2012.