Tampa activist outraged at false police report By Mitch E. Perry

02/07/06

Tampa activist Terry Neal wrote to Mayor Pam Iorio today, requesting for an official inquiry of the Tampa Police Department to ascertain how a false police report which claimed he had HIV, hepatitis C and a violent mental illness was allowed to be placed in his police file. <p

He also wants the Mayor to ensure that the now deleted information be forwarded to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Courts, and any other law enforcement agency.<p

Neal was arrested in December of 2004 at a Tampa City Council meeting, after he refused to stop talking after being ordered to by Council Chairwoman Gwen Miller. <p

But he was prompted to try to understand what was in the Police Report when he says he wasn’t getting any callbacks when applying for a teacher’s position in Hillsborough County last fall (roll tape#1 o.q.� what are you going to be telling them�)<p

Neal said he never heard back from the School District, but did observe that the special notice was removed from the web site. But he said in January, he STILL wasn’t getting any interviews, and so his curiosity led him to investigate further (roll tape#2 o.q. “ not getting a job�)<p

The incident in question took place on December 4th, 2004, when he was following up on a previous speaker’s questioning of then new Housing Director Cynthia Miller…That led to Councilman John Dingfelder and others to defend her….Neal attempted to get his say in , when this occurred (roll tape#3 o.q.�you gonna arrest me?�)<p

And with that, Neal was arrested on trespassing and disturbing a public meeting charges.
The City Council dropped the case, but Hillsborough State Attorney Mark Ober and Tampa Police went ahead with charging him. The case ended when he agreed to enter a misdemeanor intervention program.<p

In his letter to Mayor Iorio, Neal said he originally sought a ‘quite solution’ to the problem, but had no control over the media. Both bay area newspapers published his story on Tuesday, and though he doesn’t want to say he’s happy about being falsely accused of having HIV, hepatitis C or a violent mental illness, he says he’s glad if it illuminates other people about WHAT the Tampa Police Department might be up to (roll tape#4 o.q. “ it’s serving a useful purpose�)<p

Assistant City Attorney Kirby Rainsberger was quoted today in today’s St. Petersburg Times as calling the situation with Neal’s police record containing falsehoods , and then being changed, as “as not a huge deal…� WMNF attempted to speak to him about that comment…He did not return our call by airtime.

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