Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Public safety

Police release transcript of radio chatter that led to officers' discipline

ST. PETERSBURG — Police on Friday released a 15-page transcript of a conversation between officers who were disciplined for making "inappropriate and unprofessional comments over the radio."

The 45-minute conversation between four officers took place on July 11 when it appears the officers were trying to track people in different cars they suspected of dealing drugs.

The conversations came to light after a resident complained about police chasing cars in the city's southern neighborhoods without using lights or sirens. While the internal investigation did not determine that an unauthorized pursuit took place, it did find that the officers broke other rules. As a result, three police officers were suspended and a fourth resigned.

The officers' comments were made the day after another officer was fired and several others were disciplined for their roles in two incidents in which police shot at suspects fleeing in cars, which is against department policy.

Of the officers accused of the inappropriate comments, Eric B. Galloway, 31, resigned in August. Officer David M. Kimes, 38, was suspended without pay for three days. Officers Robert J. Leoce, 38, and Michael W. Carter, 41, were suspended without pay for two days.

Here is a partial transcript of their radio conversation that night:

Kimes: Leoce, you better be careful what you do down there, you'll get yourself suspended or fired if they call, if they get the NAACP involved.

Leoce: I'm not lucky enough to get fired; they won't do that to me. That would make me happy.

Then, later:

Leoce: Silver Hyundai went out to 15, I don't have eyes on that anymore; I'm tracking the Mazda, west on 13 and then quickly north on 4-7 out of my sight ... Kimes this may come north of Central for 'ya.

Kimes: I'm here; I'm like at 1 and 49, waiting on it.

Unknown voice: Get out the catchers' mitt.

Kimes: Of course I don't want to put myself in harm's way.

Carter: You just have to get run over.

Galloway: If you do, don't defend yourself.

Kimes: That's probably what it is, you need to … you got to get run over first, get dragged by the car, before you can start popping off shots.

Leoce: Yeah, I think you're justified if you're shooting from under the car.

Kimes: Yeah, like up through the floorboards.

Galloway: Unless the car stopped, because it's high centered on your body, then it's technically not moving.

Then, later:

Kimes: Hey, Carter, your Dad's up here at 17 and 34th; no shirt, no shoes, just like he used to.

Carter: That must be your Daddy from Georgia.

Kimes: Well, the guy used to hop out of the bushes every morning when he used to wake up.

Leoce: Is he in the grass, looking for change again?

Kimes: Yeah, he used to sleep in the bushes in front of this car dealership at 25 and 34, over here, but now he's just out wandering around.

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