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Castor says Tampa police already follow 8 Can’t Wait policies, despite low grade

The 8 Can’t Wait campaign says Tampa only adheres to one of their eight recommendations for police use of force.

TAMPA — Mayor Jane Castor says a viral campaign aimed at police reform has its facts wrong about the Tampa Police Department.

Castor said in a press conference at City Hall on Friday afternoon that the City of Tampa has already reached out to the 8 Can’t Wait campaign — which condemns Tampa police for following just one of its eight recommendations on police use-of-force policies — to let the organization know about its alleged errors.

“Tampa has had these eight policies in place for years,” Castor said. “We have provided documentation on our website that lays out every policy, procedure, training and the legal bulletins associated with all eight.”

8 Can’t Wait is a project of Campaign Zero, which is part of the Black Lives Matter activist movement.

8 Can't Wait demands for police departments nationwide.
8 Can't Wait demands for police departments nationwide. [ 8 Can't Wait ]

The full list of demands from the 8 Can’t Wait campaign includes:

  • Ban chokeholds and strangleholds
  • Require de-escalation
  • Require warning before shooting
  • Require exhausts all alternatives before shooting
  • Duty to intervene
  • Ban shooting at moving vehicles
  • Require use of force continuum
  • Require comprehensive reporting

Research shows that following these eight policies could decrease police violence by 72 percent, according to the campaign’s website. The campaign has gone viral on social media since the death of Minneapolis man George Floyd on May 25.

Reno, Nevada, was the only major U.S. city to enforce fewer policies than Tampa, according to the campaign’s website. If Tampa’s current status were to be amended as Castor wants, however, it would join San Francisco and Tuscon, Ariz., as the only cities in the nation to have implemented all eight policies.

As it currently stands, the only policy that the 8 Can’t Wait campaign credits Tampa for implementing is “use of force continuum,” which requires officers to match their force to the level of resistance the suspect is giving.

The St. Petersburg Police Department follows six of the eight policies, with “duty to intervene” and “comprehensive reporting" being where the city falls short. Mayor Rick Kirseman said he’s providing documentation to the organization to show that St. Pete adheres to all eight recommendations.

"These policies are important changes that police departments across the country should be implementing already,” Castor said.

She added that these policies are “only just the beginning.”

Castor said that she would love to see all eight policies be implemented into a federal police standard — something that doesn’t exist in the U.S. yet.

“There are no federal standards for law enforcement that are required,” Castor said. “And that is a problem because you have agencies who are trying to do the right thing and you have other individuals who have the accepted practice that we watched that was used to murder George Floyd.”