Sheriff Bob Gualtieri has objected to the Tampa Bay Rays’ choice to tweet about justice for Breonna Taylor.
Gualtieri, Sheriff of Pinellas County, Florida, spoke to Tampa Bay President Matt Silverman about the viral tweet calling for the arrest of Breonna Taylor’s killers, which was sent on opening day.
Today is Opening Day, which means it’s a great day to arrest the murderers of Breonna Taylor
– Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) July 24, 2020
“Today is Opening Day, which means it’s a great day to arrest Breonna Taylor’s killers,” the tweet read.
“It is not necessary to turn a baseball event into a political event,” Gualtieri said through the Tampa Bay Times. “It is simply wrong and it is incorrect. It is simply reckless. It throws gasoline on the fire and it didn’t have to happen. “
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The Rays issued a statement to the Tampa Bay Times, but declined to comment on discussions between the organization and the sheriff.
“We are grateful for the dialogue we continue to have with Sheriff Gualtieri and many other law enforcement officers,” the statement said in the Times.
Gualtieri was not alone in his dismay at the tweet, as St. Petersburg Police Chief Anthony Holloway “disagreed with the officers’ characterization” and was “very concerned” with the message the organization had sent.
Holloway said that despite the Rays tweet, St. Petersburg police will continue to provide security and enforcement services, while Gualtieri plans to re-evaluate the sheriff’s relationship with the club. Right now, Pinellas County delegates are guarding the concession fee room and also help with other jobs in the stadium, including traffic control and security.
The Rays tweet was one of the more prominent statements by MLB organizations and was part of the league’s larger initiative to shed light on social and racial justice issues in 2020. MLB players hosted demonstrations before the first game of each team, with some players choosing to kneel during the national anthem.
Taylor, 26, was murdered at her home on March 12 after Louisville police raided her house with the power of a search warrant. The police exchanged fire with Taylor’s friend, who thought the officers were intruders. Taylor was killed by the police at the crossfire.
In the past, Gualtieri has spoken out in the deaths of black Americans, including condemning Derek Chauvin in his murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis.