ACLU Urges Investigation After Tampa Police Post Black Woman's Details Online

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida is calling for an investigation into the Tampa Bay Police Department into claims they released the personal details of a Black woman following an encounter with their officers.

In a letter sent to State Attorney Andrew Warren, the ACLU asks if the force violated any rules by posting Joneshia Wilkerson's name, date of birth, phone number, and home address on YouTube, which caused her to "receive numerous threats."

Wilkerson, 23, was pulled over by Tampa Bay Police on June 18 after police suspected her of stealing a vehicle.

During the stop, an officer stepped out of the car and drew a gun before calling for backup

"You know it's not an exaggeration to say that Ms. Wilkerson, at that point, became afraid of becoming the latest Black American to be killed by a white officer," the letter states.

"She had the presence of mind to place her cell phone on her dashboard and record the encounter."

The Tampa Police Department also posted a video of the incident taken from one of the officers' body cam online. The clip was posted as the force tried to calm fears after allegations of police brutality emerged.

During the clip, Wilkerson gave her full name, address and phone number to the officer.

"Almost immediately upon having her information posted, Ms. Wilkerson began receiving threatening phone calls and messages from complete strangers," the letter says. "The calls contained threats and racial slurs."

The Department also said in a statement that the officer never pointed his gun directly at Wilkerson and "remained calm, followed protocol, keeping the occupants informed of what was expected," while speaking to the 23-year-old.

Wilkerson was not arrested following the stop in her vehicle, but her details were still posted online. She said she borrowed the car from a friend of hers.

"When they blasted my information out, I felt like they were not concerned with my personal wellbeing. I felt completely harassed by the Tampa Police Department," Wilkerson said."

The ACLU claims that purposely posting the video in which Wilkerson gave out her personal details is a violation of section 817.568(4), a Florida Statute related to harassment.

"And it wasn't an accident, either," the letter adds. "The passenger's personal information was removed from the video. The name of the friend from whom she borrowed the vehicle was also redacted.

"Someone had to have deliberately made the decision to redact the other individuals' information from the video but to leave Ms. Wilkerson's name, date of birth, home phone number, and home address on YouTube for absolutely anyone to see."

The letter to Warren concludes: "The matter is worthy of being investigated, and no one else in Hillsborough County is going to do it unless you will, Please use your position to right this wrong."

The Tampa Police Department has been contacted for comment.

tampa
A badge is seen on a police officer for the Tampa Police Department on July 13, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. Joe Raedle/Getty