DAVENPORT, Fla. -- At a special meeting at Davenport City Hall, commissioners said they are requesting that Governor Rick Scott suspend Mayor Teresa Darlene Bradley.
Bradley, 60, was arrested for altering and using handicapped permits of dead people to park in handicapped parking spots, including spots at Davenport City Hall.
"Well, I’m just shocked that it happened to us," Commissioner Bob Lynch said. "It's bad for the community, bad for the city. We are going to request that the governor take a look at it and then the governors decision whether or not to suspend or not we’ll have to wait on his decision."
Bradley was arrested and booked into the Polk County Jail and released after posting $2,500 bond.
In November 2017, deputies with the Polk County Sheriff's Office received information that Bradley was parking in handicapped spots at Davenport City Hall, but she was not known to be disabled or handicapped. She was also not known to have a placard issued to her.
Deputies witnessed Bradley parking in one of the handicapped spots at City Hall and placing the placard on her mirror before getting out of her car. When she returned to her car, she was seen removing the placard from her mirror.
Deputies searched her home and found two handicapped placards issued to two different victims, both deceased.
Records from the Polk County Tax Collector indicate Bradley nor her husband John Lepley, were issued a disabled placard or a handicapped license plate by the State of Florida.
Upon further investigation, deputies found Bradley altered one of the placards which originally expired on 10/30/2013 to read 10/30/2018.
Residents that attended the meeting also urged people not to convict the mayor before she has due process.
"I feel she needs her day in court like everyone deserves but at the same time I think Davenport needs to take care of Davenport," George Daniel Gordon III said.
Deputies also witnessed Bradley exiting a vehicle with no assistance, removing a large suitcase from the trunk and walking into City Hall without assistance. Deputies found Mayor Bradley did knowingly utilize a handicapped placard within Polk County without authorization, she also knowingly used the personal information of a woman after her death, and knowingly possessed an altered or counterfeit decal in this state.
The mayor was not present at Thursday's special meeting. She released a statement through her attorney Rafael Echemendia. The letter stated Bradley parked close to City Hall for safety because, "she was previously the victim of a violent carjacking and continues to feel extremely unsafe after dark and acknowledges that she parks as close to the door as possible at night for safety concerns." The statement went on to say that what has happened since Bradley was arrested is all political.
"She upset the political apple cart... this should have been a civil citation or a misdemeanor at best, but powerful interests are taking full political advantage of a decision my client made due to her legitimate concerns for her safety. We expect our elected officials to set the proper example. She not only violated the law, she embarrassed the citizens of Davenport with her illegal conduct," said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.
Do you know someone who is may be abusing disabled parking in the state of Florida? The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles has a place for you to report that abuse. Click here to fill out the Disabled Parking Abuse Complaint Form.