TAMPA — The Tampa Housing Authority's former public safety manager has been sentenced to a year of probation and 50 hours of community service for holding a gun on two men he attempted to question outside a private apartment complex in June.
David W. Queen, 53, admitted to improper exhibition of a dangerous weapon, a misdemeanor. As part of a Jan. 27 plea deal, the Hillsborough State Attorney's Office dropped a felony charge of false imprisonment.
Queen, a Tampa police officer from 1982 to 1993, was also ordered to take a gun safety class. Under the sentence imposed by Hillsborough Circuit Judge Ronald Ficarrotta, Queen won't be allowed to have firearms for the duration of his probation, which could be terminated after six months if he follows the rules.
Charges stemmed from a June 27 incident in which he stopped two men as they left Oakhurst Square near downtown Tampa.
He later told the Tampa Bay Times that it was a case of mistaken identity. He was following a lead on counterfeit Housing Authority checks. He said he unholstered his gun and held it in two hands, pointing it low as he approached the men: Amori Newell and Kevin Marvin Long.
Newell, then 29, was a former Navy combat medic who served four years in Iraq and was attending Hillsborough Community College. Unlike his brother, he had no criminal record.
More to the point were Queen's credentials: He hadn't been a cop for two decades.
"Nowhere in Mr. Queen's job description does it authorize Mr. Queen to investigate criminal activities," the Housing Authority stated in a report.
Queen, who had worked for the agency for just a few months, lost his job over the incident.
Staff writer Patty Ryan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.