Justin Garcia - State and Local Accountability Reporter

State and Local Accountability Reporter

I thrive on exposing what’s hidden from the public. As an accountability reporter, I work to uncover issues that affect the community surrounding Tampa Bay and all of Florida. My focus is on law enforcement and the judicial system, but I’ll keep an eye on several government agencies. Before joining the Times in 2023, I freelanced for outlets like The Nation and Investigative Reporters & Editors Journal. I was also a staff writer for Creative Loafing Tampa Bay. Feel free to reach out to me if there’s a matter that you think I should look into.

  1. Footage from a body-worn camera shows a Tampa officer taunting and cursing at residents.
  2. The entrance to Florida State Prison in Starke is shown Thursday, Aug. 3, 2023. All Florida prisons are now subject to artificial surveillance of phone calls.
  3. As the dispute drags on, Ybor residents argue there is more than just bookkeeping issue and zoning conflict at stake: The well-being of their neighborhood is, too.
  4. Tony Karlhofer, of Largo, places flowers near a makeshift memorial for Deputy Michael Hartwick, at the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office headquarters on Friday, Sept. 23, 2022, in Largo.
  5. In Horseshoe Beach, near where Idalia made landfall, aerial drone imagery from a Tampa Bay Times reporter shows a displaced vehicle spewing gasoline into a neighborhood canal.
  6. A group of homeless people said that they spent the night under a bus shelter as Tampa felt the effects of Hurricane Idalia.
  7. A car fills up at a Citgo station in this photo from 2017.
  8. Florida officials are warning drivers of “potentially widespread fuel contamination” impacting gas stations across the state's west coast as residents brace for Tropical Storm Idalia’s expected landfall later this week.
  9. Rome Yard in Tampa pictured on Friday, April 16, 2021, at left, and Monday, at right,.
  10. Sixth Judicial Circuit Judge Bill Burgess wrote in an Aug. 10 memorandum that a court cannot impose a special condition of probation that “effectively prohibits the defendant from participating in a state medical marijuana program.”
  11. Media consultant Tim Burke, 44, stands in his digital media studio at the Seminole Heights home he shares with his wife, Tampa City Council member Lynn Hurtak, on Tuesday, July 18, 2023, in Tampa, where agents with the FBI conducted a search and seizure of personal electronics and notebooks in early May.
  12. Patti Silliman of Wimauma, holds a photo of her son Jason Westcott outside the Tampa Police headquarters on Wednesday. The Tampa Police Department this month reached a court settlement with Silliman for the wrongful death of Westcott in a 2014 SWAT raid.
  13. Media consultant Tim Burke stands in his digital media studio at the Seminole Heights home that he shares with his wife, Tampa City Council member Lynn Hurtak on Tuesday. FBI agents conducted a search and seizure of personal electronics and notebooks at their home in early May.
  14. Doug Maddox, director of Bay Pines National Cemetery, makes a speech during a Memorial Day event. He was allowed to take part even though he is under investigation after employees complained he created a toxic work environment.
  15. Police in Clearwater and Hillsborough County are able to access private security cameras through a partnership with Georgia technology company Fusus.
  16. Mike Victor, the man who drives Tampa mayors, including Jane Castor. City of Tampa (2019)
  17. The Tampa Police Department's downtown headquarter is seen in 2022. A Tampa police officer resigned last month after an internal investigation found that he knew as early as 2021 that a local political player known as Giovanni “Gio” Fucarino was a convicted sex offender named John Ring Jr., but didn’t tell anyone what he knew and was untruthful when investigators asked him about it later, records show.
  18. Tampa Police are investigating the deaths of two minors in an overnight car crash.
  19. Police are investigating the death of a 2-year-old in St. Petersburg.
  20. Lynn Hurtak, left, and her husband, Tim Burke, right, attend the Oath of Office Ceremony at Armature Works for Mayor Jane Castor and City Council members May 1 in Tampa.
  21. An obelisk celebrating East Tampa is seen in a roundabout along N. 22nd Street at E. 22nd Avenue is seen Monday, May 22, 2023, in Tampa.
  22. Antonio Nelson, who performs as T9ine, is seen in the courtroom alongside his mother, Pavielle Moore.
  23. Law enforcement officers gather outside Tampa Council member Lynn Hurtak's home Monday afternoon.