DAVENPORT, Fla. (WFLA) – The mayor of Davenport was arrested after deputies say she was discovered using deceased persons’ handicapped parking placards.
Polk County Sheriff’s Office deputies began investigating last month after receiving a tip that Davenport Mayor Teresa Bradley, 60, was parking in handicapped spots at city hall, but she was not handicapped and did not have a handicapped placard issued to her.
Deputies say they saw her park in one of the handicapped spots. She placed a handicapped placard on her mirror before getting out of her car and then removed the placard when she got back in the car.
Deputies served a search warrant at her home and say they found two handicapped placards issued to two different people.
One placard had been issued to Evelyn Klinger Letterman of Davenport, who died in August of 2012. The handicapped parking placard had an expiration date of 10-30-2013, however the date displayed on the placard that the mayor had been using was altered and had an expiration date of October 2018.
The second placard that the mayor had been using was issued to a person who died in 2015.
“We expect our elected officials to set the proper example. She not only violated the law, she embarrassed the citizens of Davenport with her illegal conduct,” said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.
Deputies say they also have photos and video of Mayor Bradley using the handicapped placards.
She was arrested on charges of Criminal Use of a Deceased Person’s ID, Possession of an Altered/Counterfeit Decal, and Unlawful Use of a Handicapped Placard.
Davenport City Manager Kelly Callihan tells News Channel 8 it is unclear right now if the mayor will keep her position.
“Our charter basically says only if there is a conviction. So at this point, she’s just been charged. But we are going to have a special meeting with commissioners Wednesday at 3 p.m. to talk about everything,” he said.
Callihan told News Channel 8 he has seen Bradley using handicapped spaces and just assumed she was disabled.
“I never questioned why,” he said.
He said the accusations are troubling.
“Anytime anything like this happens, somebody is accused of something, or whatever, especially a public official, it’s not good for the city, and it kind of gives the city a black eye. We certainly hate that it happened,” he said.
Sheriff Grady Judd said Bradley’s actions are embarrassing.
“It’s painfully obvious to all of us and the residents of Davenport that she abused her authority, and abused the trust,” he said, “She embarrassed the City of Davenport. She committed a felony and did it at City Hall. I think it’s arrogance. She thinks she’s above the law.”
The mayor was booked into the Polk County Jail and released after posting $2,250 bond.
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