A Sergeant from the Tampa Police Department was recently suspended after he and several of his officers went to a strip club, where they spent a total of $421.
Following an internal affairs investigation, it was determined that the officers had no clear purpose for being at the establishment, although they claimed that they were there on duty.
According to a report from the Tampa Police Citizen Review Board, agents from the anti-crime squad were at the Gold Club strip club, located on State Road 60, to conduct an undercover investigation.
Corporal Katie Thanasas during a report to the Citizen Review Board | Photo: Youtube.com/WFLA News Channel 8
During a report to the Citizen Review Board, Corporal Katie Thanasas shared that the officers were responding to allegations of prostitution and drugs inside the club.
Based on these tips, the officers went to the strip club to seek information regarding the suspicious activity, as well as a shooting that took place in Ybor City.
The Gold Club strip club on State Road 60 in Tampa, Florida | Photo: Youtube.com/WFLA News Channel 8
It is believed that the police officers were convinced one of the dancers had pertinent information about the shooting, but they failed to find any usable evidence following the investigation.
However, the complaints of illegal activity dated from a year ago, and, according to Corporal Thanasas, Sergeant Daniel Rhodes was fully aware that the operation being conducted wasn't legitimate. She said:
"The allegation referenced an alleged fake operation at the Gold Club and that Sergeant Rhodes was aware of the illegitimacy of the operation. He allegedly told the officers they could essentially blow money and have fun.”
The Tampa Citizen Review Board during a session | Photo: Youtube.com/WFLA News Channel 8
SPENDING ALL THE MONEY
It has been reported that while at the club, the officers, whose identities are yet to be made public, purchased drinks for themselves, their friends, the dancers, the dancers' friends, and the bartender.
Not only that, but they also used some of the money to cover charges for the lap dance area, as well as a single lap dance. After the incident, the officers were interrogated by internal affairs.
During the interrogation, the agents provided conflicting statements as to why they were at the strip club. As a result, Sergeant Rhodes was moved from the anti-crime squad and suspended for one day.
HAVING A GOOD TIME
A similar situation took place in 2018, and Tempe Police Chief Sylvia Moir had to apologize after several law enforcement agents visited a strip club during a city-funded conference trip to Palm Springs, California.
While the officers didn't violate any rules, Police Chief Moir claimed that she didn't condone the "poor choice" made by the female officers as she believes strip clubs "objectify women." She added:
"If in any way it brings discredit on the professional work that our people do every single day to safeguard Tempe, then I owe the community an apology."
The officers were at the establishment for 20 minutes while off-duty and later expressed their regret. No internal investigation was ever conducted.
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