News and Commentary

Tampa Mayor’s Offices Clarifies Threat: Police Looking For Vandals, Not Maskless Revelers
AMPA, FL - FEBRUARY 07: Tampa police officers assist a man bleeding among large crowds gathering in the Ybor City district on the eve Super Bowl LV on February 7, 2021 in Tampa, Florida. In addition to social social distancing, the City of Tampa and the NFL have encouraged the general public to wear a mask and properly sanitize during Super Bowl weekend festivities. (Photo by Octavio Jones/Getty Images)
Octavio Jones/Getty Images

The Tampa mayor’s office clarified a warning from Mayor Jane Castor, noting that the city’s police department is seeking to identify individuals caught on tape who vandalized city property and will not be issuing citations to revelers who failed to wear masks for post-Super Bowl partying.

The Daily Wire reported Monday that Castor vowed to identify “bad actors” who would then be prosecuted.

“We had tens of thousands of people all over the city, downtown, out by the stadium and very very few incidents,” Castor said in her press conference the day after the Super Bowl. “So I’m proud of our community but those few bad actors will be identified and the Tampa Police Department will handle it.”

At the time, it appeared Castor was referring to those individuals who failed to wear a mask for the celebrations, a violation of Castor’s executive order requiring masks for Tampa residents and visitors during Super Bowl weekend. The mayor’s office, though, issued a statement to Newsweek correcting that impression.

“Tampa Police are working to identify the people who destroyed street signs and other property during Super Bowl celebrations, not people who failed to wear a mask,” the city official noted, adding that “the City of Tampa did not issue citations to individuals who failed to wear a mask.”

“In hopes of curbing so-called superspreader events, Castor had signed a largely voluntary executive order requiring people wear face coverings during the Super Bowl festivities, even while they’re outdoors,” the Orlando Sentinel reported last week. “She pleaded with people to celebrate safely, noting the city could issue fines of up to $500.”

As The Daily Wire noted, although Castor had signed the executive order and setting a fine for failing to wear a mask at $500 per incident, it was not clear the city could enforce the rule, given that Florida has no mask mandate and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis took steps to curb local officials ability to set their own mask mandates.

Castor also had a bigger problem: she would have had to issue a fine to herself, as she was pictured without a mask attending the game.

“Tampa Mayor Jane Castor says she will use the power of the government to hunt down anyone not wearing a mask after the Super Bowl,” sports commentator Dave Hookstead noted on Twitter. “Also, here’s a photo of the Tampa mayor maskless at a sporting event. The hypocrisy never ends!”

Police in Tampa are still looking for a small number of vandals who caused damage to city property during the celebration following the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Super Bowl win. So far, at least 18 people have been arrested for vandalism, according to local news.

“Sunday night fans celebrating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers home Super Bowl win could be seen removing street signs, tossing barricades, and climbing trees, as the Tampa Police Department worked to disperse crowds that quickly grew out of control,” Channel 10 Tampa Bay reported. “On Monday, city crews and private property owners were out cleaning up the damage. We spotted smashed fences, electric scooters tossed in retention ponds, and lots of trash left along downtown sidewalks.”

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