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Pro-Trump tweet on Tampa Police Department account a 'mistake' by employee, spokesman says

This tweet by President Trump’s 2020 campaign manager appeared on the Tampa Police Department’s official Twitter account on Wednesday. A department employee inadvertently liked and retweeted the tweet, spokesman Steve Hegarty said. [Twitter]
Published Jul. 12

TAMPA — The mystery surrounding how a tweet from President Donald Trump's campaign manager wound up on the Tampa Police Department's official twitter account has been solved.

The person responsible, though, may never be identified.

One of the 30 department employees with access to the department's social media accounts inadvertently "liked" and shared a tweet from Brad Parscale, Trump's 2020 campaign manager, on the @TampaPD account on, spokesman Steve Hegarty said. Parscale's tweet said "#FourMoreYears" in response to actor Jon Voight's video praising the president.

"Our nation is stronger and wiser because we have taken a chance on a man who has become the greatest president," Voight said in the video.

The employee thought it was a personal account, Hegarty said.

"I'm convinced that's what happened," he said.

That's also the presumed explanation for why the account "liked" a video from President Trump's Twitter account that gave highlights of his recent Fourth of July speech, Hegarty said.

Department policy forbids using official social media accounts for political purposes. No disciplinary action is planned.

The Parscale tweet didn't go over well with some in the Twitterverse.

"Is this an official endorsement from the Tampa PD? So much for being objective," one user with the handle @think_young1 wrote.

"Have you been hacked? What nonsense is this? This organization is supposed to be nonpartisan, SHAMEFUL," an account using the name Jennifer Martin tweeted.

Both Trump-related tweets were removed from the department's account on Wednesday.

Hegarty reached out to the employees who have access to the account and asked what they knew.

As the department's public information officer, Hegarty is one of 30 people who have social media access but was able to immediately eliminate himself as suspect.

The employees include sworn officers and civilians who work a number of shifts and can push out information ranging from road closures to puppy rescues at all hours of the day and night.

Some employees said there is no way those tweets would be in their personal Twitter feeds. Others don't have personal Twitter accounts. But one employee, a sworn officer, said he might be the culprit, Hegarty said.

Still, there's no way to know for sure, he said. Unlike with Facebook posts, the department can't identify who is responsible for Twitter activity on the official account, Hegarty said.

He said he hopes the errant tweet serves as a lesson without discouraging posts from employees tasked with the legitimate sharing of information from the department.

"The lesson learned here is that our social media team members need to be acutely aware of when they are on their personal social media and when they are on TPD's official social media," Hegarty said.

"Everybody has been told we need to be careful, but we don't want this to hamper our efforts to put something out when there's a missing or endangered person in the middle of the night."

Times staff writers Ben Leonard and Aaron Holmes contributed to this report. Contact Tony Marrero at tmarrero@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3374. Follow @tmarrerotimes.

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