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Tampa TV anchor's arrest under review

TAMPA — The Hillsborough Sheriff's Office has opened an internal review of deputies' arrest of WTVT-Ch. 13 news anchor Russell Rhodes, whose face was bloodied and blackened during the encounter.

Rhodes, a morning news anchor for Fox 13's Good Day Tampa Bay, was taken to jail Friday night after deputies said he obstructed a DUI investigation.

Sheriff's officials said Rhodes ran from a deputy and flailed his arms after he was stopped on suspicion of driving under the influence, prompting deputies to take him to the ground.

The take-down left Rhodes with facial injuries that made for a gruesome mug shot.

"Any time there's a high-profile incident or any incident that the sheriff wishes to have reviewed," an internal review is initiated, Sheriff's Office spokesman J.D. Callaway said. "We'll look at all the available evidence and make sure the deputies acted properly."

Officials at WTVT-Ch. 13 say Rhodes will not appear on air this week, but declined to comment on details. Rhodes didn't return calls seeking comment.

The incident leading to Rhodes' arrest began about 10:15 p.m. Friday as deputies were working an off-duty security job at Channelside. Deputies reported seeing a 2006 BMW 325i weaving in the public parking garage, Callaway said.

Deputies stopped the BMW, and Rhodes got out. Rhodes appeared intoxicated, Callaway said. Deputies said that he tried to walk away from them twice and that they ordered him to stay put and surrender his keys. Rhodes then tried to run, Callaway said.

When deputies tried to take his car keys, Rhodes waved his hands to keep them away, an arrest affidavit states. That's when Rhodes was taken to the ground.

The arrest report states that Rhodes said he was sorry and that he had panicked because he works for Fox 13.

Rhodes was taken to Tampa General Hospital, then was booked into the Orient Road Jail, Callaway said. He was charged with obstructing an officer without violence and was released Saturday morning on $500 bail.

Blood samples were taken to see whether he was intoxicated. The results should be back soon, Callaway said.

Rhodes has been with Tampa Bay's Fox station since 1994, according to the station Web site.

Tampa TV anchor's arrest under review 01/20/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 20, 2009 10:57pm]

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