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Woman Makes Viral Video Claiming Police Harassment, Then Truth Comes Out

Tampa, FL – A Tampa woman who claimed police harassment after she was stopped driving a stolen car was arrested on Tuesday in connection with the same incident for failing to return a leased vehicle she rented with a stolen credit card (video below).

The incident began when a Tampa police officer conducted a high-risk traffic stop on 23-year-old Joneshia Wilkerson on June 18 after the car she was driving was reported stolen, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

The officer who stopped Wilkerson called for backup and held his weapon at low ready as he stood behind the driver’s door.

Wilkerson complied with the officer’s commands as she made an Instagram video of what was happening and accused the officer of pointing a gun at her head, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

“I told him numerous times I can get out the car and I’m not arm yet he still pointed his gun at me I was scared and in fear with my life … ” she captioned the video.

The video, which Wilkerson has since removed from Instagram, went viral and caused an outcry in the Tampa area.

Wilkerson was detained and then quickly released after she told police she had borrowed the car from a friend, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

She specifically told the Tampa Bay Times that a friend was financing the car and had failed to pay.

But surveillance video from the Hertz rental location at St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport showed Wilkerson used a stolen credit card to rent the black Nissan Altima herself on June 2.

She was supposed to return the car on June 6 but never did, the Tampa Patch reported.

Hertz tried to contact Wilkerson but discovered the phone number was bogus and the credit card was stolen.

Hertz filed a stolen vehicle report with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office on June 18, according to the Tampa Patch.

Tampa police spotted the vehicle later the same day and the traffic stop went viral.

Pinellas County Detectives determined that Wilkerson used a friend’s driver’s license and the same phone number she later gave to police on the rental forms, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

Wilkerson paid a friend $200 to use the license, according to the Tampa Patch.

The credit card number she used was stolen from a woman in Indiana who still had her credit card in her possession.

Tampa police quickly released bodycam video that refuted much of what Wilkerson had to say about what happened when she was stopped, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

The video showed the officer spoke nicely to both Wilkerson and her passenger and the women were cooperative, according to Tampa Patch.

But the department mistakenly failed to redact Wilkerson’s personally-identifiable information from the video, and it was taken down again.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida has called for an investigation into the error and claimed Tampa police endangered Wilkerson by releasing her address and telephone number, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

Wilkerson spoke at a Black Lives Matter rally on July 24 and claimed she was the victim of police harassment.

She was arrested four days later in Riverview on charges of failure to return a leased vehicle and fraudulent use of a credit card, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

Wilkerson was released from the Hillsborough County jail on $10,000 bail, the Tampa Patch reported.

Watch the incident unfold in the video below:

Written by
Sandy Malone

Managing Editor - Twitter/@SandyMalone_ - Prior to joining The Police Tribune, Sandy wrote the Politics.Net column for the Wall Street Journal and was managing editor of Campaigns & Elections magazine. More recently, she was an internationally-syndicated columnist for Conde Nast (BRIDES), The Huffington Post, and Monsters and Critics. Sandy is married to a retired police captain and former SWAT commander.

View all articles
Written by Sandy Malone

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