Sheriff Bob Gualtieri has taken issue with the Tampa Bay Rays’ choice to tweet about justice for Breonna Taylor.
Gualtieri, sheriff of Pinellas County in Florida, spoke with Tampa Bay president Matt Silverman regarding the viral tweet that called for the arrest of the killers of Breonna Taylor, which was sent on Opening Day.
Today is Opening Day, which means it’s a great day to arrest the killers of Breonna Taylor
“Today is Opening Day, which means it’s a great day to arrest the killers of Breonna Taylor,” the tweet reads.
“To turn a baseball event into a political event is uncalled for,” Gualtieri said, via the Tampa Bay Times. “It’s just wrong, and it’s improper. It’s just reckless. It’s throwing gasoline on the fire, and it didn’t need to happen.”
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The Rays issued a statement to the Tampa Bay Times, but wouldn’t comment on the 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 personnel,” the statement said, per the Times.
Gualtieri wasn’t alone in his displeasure for the tweet, as St. Petersburg police chief Anthony Holloway “disagreed with its characterization of the officers” and was “very concerned” with the message the organization sent.
Holloway said that the St. Petersburg police will continue to provide security and enforcement services despite the Rays’ tweet, while Gualtieri plans to reevaluate the sheriff’s department relationship with the club. At present, Pinellas County deputies guard the room where concessions money is held and also help with other jobs around the stadium, including traffic control and security.
The Rays’ tweet was one of the more prominent statements from MLB organizations, and part of the league’s larger initiative to bring light to social and racial justice issues in 2020. MLB players staged demonstrations before each team’s respective first game of the season, with some players choosing to kneel during the national anthem.
Taylor, 26, was killed in her home on March 12 after Louisville police raided her home with the power of a no-knock warrant. Police exchanged fire with Taylor’s boyfriend, who thought the officers were home invaders. Taylor was killed by police in the crossfire.