TAMPA — The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida is calling for an investigation of the Tampa Police Department for publicizing the personal information of a Black woman that was captured on body-camera video released last month.
The organization sent a letter to Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren on Thursday, calling for his office to investigate whether police personnel broke the law by publishing Joneshia Wilkerson’s personal information “for the purpose of causing her substantial emotional distress without a legitimate purpose.”
The video was recorded on June 18, when Wilkerson was pulled over by a Tampa police officer investigating a report of a stolen car. The 23-year-old recorded a cell phone video of the encounter. In it an officer drew his weapon and aimed it toward the car, which she said left her fearing for her life.
“You know it’s not an exaggeration to say that Ms. Wilkerson, at that point, became afraid of becoming the latest Black American to be killed by a white officer,” the ACLU’s letter says.
The Tampa Police Department then posted a video of the incident recorded by an officer’s body-worn camera. In that video, Wilkerson gave her full name, address and phone number to the officer. She was not arrested and was freed — but police did not delete her identifying information from the video.
However, the personal information of a woman who was riding with Wilkerson, and who was also not arrested, was removed.
When the Tampa Bay Times asked why the department did not delete the personal information of someone who was not arrested, Tampa police spokesperson Jamel Laneè gave this response on June 22: “Her information is public record.”
The department did not respond to further questions, saying the incident was the subject of an internal investigation. The Tampa Bay Times had posted a shorter version of the video.
Wilkerson said she received…