Tampa activist's tires slashed on Christmas Eve

Man believes his family was targeted
Posted at 5:20 PM, Dec 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-27 17:20:21-05

Joe Manson and his family took an Uber to church on Christmas after someone slashed the tires to all three of their vehicles. 

"Knowing that somebody, you know, they know where I live. They had enough hatred in their heart to you know...Christmas Eve...come out,” he said.

Surveillance video shows who appears to be a woman in a poncho hiding in a neighbor's bushes and checking a cell phone, then using something to slash three vehicles tires in Manson's Tampa driveway.

"They've voiced their disdain for our activities here in Tampa,” said Manson, Founder of Clean Up Kennedy. 

Manson says the damage is upwards of $500 and his family filed a police report. He believes his family was targeted because they've supported a controversial ordinance at Tampa's City Council public meetings.  

The new ordinance would target massage and spa parlors and force them to close early, not allow employees to sleep on site and open for police searches four times a year. 

"I have to drive by them almost every day to get anywhere. There's 10 of them in a mile and a half on Kennedy Boulevard between like Westshore and Henderson,” said Manson. "We know from police reports and from online review sites that there's definitely prostitution going on inside of them and from National Human Trafficking organizations, things have pointed to the fact that these women are being victims of sex trafficking."

Opposition to the ordinance has been vocal too. Arguing it would only criminalize vulnerable sex workers who are already struggling to find housing and work. 

Manson says the vandalism only makes the issue more personal to him.

"It's obviously an act of disruption and intimidation. It didn't work,” he said.