Team appointed to review Tampa DUI cases - WFLA News Channel 8

Team appointed to review Tampa DUI cases

Posted: Updated:
Chief Jane Castor Chief Jane Castor
TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -

They swear to protect and serve you but now the actions of at least two Tampa police officers are under the microscope.Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor announced Tuesday the department will create a new DUI review team to evaluate some past DUI cases.

"The bottom line is - we need to restore confidence in the DUI unit and in the Tampa Police Department as a whole," Chief Castor said.

The team of six people, three outside experts and three internal officers with DUI experience, will start by researching the open cases of Sgt. Ray Fernandez and Officer Tim McGinnis.

Those are the two officers involved in the DUI arrest controversy of attorney Phil Campbell. His own attorney claims Campbell was set-up during a high-profile defamation trial of two Tampa Bay shock jocks.

An investigation revealed a tipster from an opposing law firm texted Sgt. Fernandez as a paralegal bought Campbell drinks at a Tampa steakhouse and that the Fernandez was waiting outside the restaurant to stop Campbell. Officer McGinnis made the arrest.

"There's been zilch disciplinary action taken against any of the officers involved," said John Fitzgibbons, who is Campbell's attorney.

Both officers have been reassigned out of DUI duty.

Related story: 07/30/2013 Tampa cop involved in MJ Schnitt's DUI case reassigned

But Fitzgibbons says the chief should have taken disciplinary action by now, especially since she admits she was lied to. Chief Castor says, after the incident Sgt. Fernandez told her there were only a few messages back and forth between him and his tipster that night...when phone records show it was 92 texts altogether.

"It's just mind-boggling to me that a supervisory sergeant can speak directly to the chief of police and not tell the truth," Fitzgibbons said. "If anybody in any organization talked directly to their CEO and lied to their CEO - they would be clearing their office out that afternoon."

But the chief says the F.B.I. is currently doing its own investigation into the officer's actions that night and dismissing him before an investigation is complete would be premature.

"He deserves due process just like everyone else," Castor said.

In the meantime, the DUI review team will start combing through at least 34 cases: Four that are currently open by Sgt. Ray Fernandez and 30 of Officer McGinnis.

Fitzgibbons believes the formation of a DUI review team is only a "baby-step" and there needs to be an independent, thorough investigation into the unit. He wants to know if there are quotas officers must meet and why supervisors don't have dashboard cameras.

"I don't know what's happened over the years. I don't know what the practices have been," Fitzgibbons said. "But I know that all honest and ethical police officers as well as lawyers would welcome such an inquiry."

Follow Josh Green on Twitter @wflaJoshG

  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • Squatters moving out of New Port Richey soldier's home

    Squatters moving out of New Port Richey soldier's home

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 11:04 PM EDT2014-04-24 03:04:13 GMT
    Soldier & homeowner Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago. Facebook photoSoldier & homeowner Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago. Facebook photo
    Our 8 On Your Side story about a New Port Richey soldier who says his home has been taken over by squatters is striking a nerve in the community and now, the squatters are moving out. 
    Our 8 On Your Side story about a New Port Richey soldier who says his home has been taken over by squatters is striking a nerve in the community and now, the squatters are moving out.  
  • Pricey processing issue at Tampa hair academy resolved

    Pricey processing issue at Tampa hair academy resolved

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 9:35 AM EDT2014-04-23 13:35:13 GMT
    Loretta Maloy says she always expected to pay for the courses she took those several weeks, but thought $10,000 in loans just wasn’t right.
    Loretta Maloy says she always expected to pay for the courses she took those several weeks, but thought $10,000 in loans just wasn’t right.
  • New Port Richey soldier says squatters won't leave his home

    New Port Richey soldier says squatters won't leave his home

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 8:58 AM EDT2014-04-23 12:58:50 GMT
    Soldier & homeowner Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago. Facebook photoSoldier & homeowner Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago. Facebook photo
     When soldier Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago, he asked a friend to watch over his New Port Richey house. Now, they're fighting to get their house back.
    When soldier Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago, he asked a friend to watch over his New Port Richey house. Now, they're fighting to get their house back.
  • NewsMore>>

  • Squatters moving out of New Port Richey soldier's home

    Squatters moving out of New Port Richey soldier's home

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 11:04 PM EDT2014-04-24 03:04:13 GMT
    Soldier & homeowner Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago. Facebook photoSoldier & homeowner Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago. Facebook photo
    Our 8 On Your Side story about a New Port Richey soldier who says his home has been taken over by squatters is striking a nerve in the community and now, the squatters are moving out. 
    Our 8 On Your Side story about a New Port Richey soldier who says his home has been taken over by squatters is striking a nerve in the community and now, the squatters are moving out.  
  • Fl Congressman Bill Young's widow says she won't support Jolly

    Fl Congressman Bill Young's widow says she won't support Jolly

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 9:06 PM EDT2014-04-24 01:06:14 GMT
    Photo courtesy of Beverly YoungPhoto courtesy of Beverly Young
    The widow of Congressman C.W. Bill Young says she no longer supports the man who campaigned as a “Bill Young Republican” and was elected to her husband’s seat in the House of Representatives. “No, I won’t support him,” Beverly Young said in an interview with News Channel 8.
    The widow of Congressman C.W. Bill Young says she no longer supports the man who campaigned as a “Bill Young Republican” and was elected to her husband’s seat in the House of Representatives. “No, I won’t support him,” Beverly Young said in an interview with News Channel 8.
  • Tampa Theater named one of the world's most spectacular theaters

    Tampa Theater named one of the world's most spectacular theaters

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 8:54 PM EDT2014-04-24 00:54:24 GMT
    April 23 is, according to some reports, William Shakespeare's birthday. In a nod to the Bard's enduring legacy 450 years on from his birth, as well as the UK's theatrical history, here are a few stages worth seeing, whether a play's being performed or not.
    April 23 is, according to some reports, William Shakespeare's birthday. In a nod to the Bard's enduring legacy 450 years on from his birth, as well as the UK's theatrical history, here are a few stages worth seeing, whether a play's being performed or not.
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Woman claims pedicure crossed the line

    Woman claims pedicure crossed the line

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 11:45 PM EDT2014-04-23 03:45:39 GMT
    A Shreveport woman said a nail tech from Style Nails in Shreveport crossed the line during a pedicure, and that she has cell phone video to prove it.
    A Shreveport woman said a nail tech from Style Nails in Shreveport crossed the line during a pedicure, and that she has cell phone video to prove it.
  • Mom bites off dog's ear to save daughter during attack

    Mom bites off dog's ear to save daughter during attack

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 2:49 PM EDT2014-04-22 18:49:19 GMT
    Image from CNN/KHOU-TVImage from CNN/KHOU-TV
    In a backyard in Alvin, swings a very lucky girl. Her name is Mackenzi Plass, or Kenzi for short, and she survived a dog attack and has undergone several surgeries."She'll be two and a half in May," said her very proud mother Chelsi Camp. "She's doing great. You wouldn't know it if you couldn't see."Mackenzi has scars on her face after the ordeal just weeks ago that put her mother's animal instincts to the test."You do whatever you can," said Camp. "I don't have physical strength at my side."...
    In a backyard in Alvin, swings a very lucky girl. Her name is Mackenzi Plass, or Kenzi for short, and she survived a dog attack and has undergone several surgeries."She'll be two and a half in May," said her very proud mother Chelsi Camp. "She's doing great. You wouldn't know it if you couldn't see."Mackenzi has scars on her face after the ordeal just weeks ago that put her mother's animal instincts to the test."You do whatever you can," said Camp. "I don't have physical strength at my side."...
  • Search halted for missing Gaboon Viper

    Search halted for missing Gaboon Viper

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 7:08 PM EDT2014-04-22 23:08:20 GMT
    The missing viper could still be out there, but the search has been halted for safety concerns.
    The missing viper could still be out there, but the search has been halted for safety concerns.
Powered by WorldNow

200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

Telephone: 813.228.8888
Fax: 813.225.2770
Email: news@wfla.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.