Guy Tunnell Resigns
The heat from the recent Martin Anderson protests got to be too much. Guy Tunnell officially handed his resignation to Jeb Bush. It seems bizarre that Tunnell would talk to the St. Petersburg Times about his job and later in the day decide to resign.
Earlier in the day, Tunnell discussed his job with a St. Petersburg Times reporter, saying he was disturbed at all of the criticism he has received, but he did not indicate he had any immediate plan to resign.
Tunnell said he did not believe he had any problem with the governor, but he indicated he was ready for retirement after spending more than 30 years in law enforcement. He did not return calls Thursday night.
The Times, Orlando Sentinel and the Associated Press could not get Tunnell to comment about his resignation. It seems strange that Tunnell would talk to the Times, decide to resign and then not grant interviews from the media all in the same day.
The Miami Herald gives a possible explanation for Tunnell's sudden departure.
Guy Tunnell abruptly ended his controversial run as head of Florida's Department of Law Enforcement on Thursday, days after sources said he made off-color remarks comparing black leaders who were to attend a Capitol rally to Osama bin Laden and Jesse James.
Tunnell submitted his resignation to Gov. Jeb Bush hours after The Miami Herald requested he comment on whether he likened U.S. Sen. Barack Obama to terrorist leader bin Laden and the Rev. Jesse Jackson to outlaw James during a meeting of Bush's agency heads Tuesday. One person in the room and another source who spoke with an agency head told The Miami Herald about his remarks.
This isn't the first time Tunnell has been accused off racism. Cindy Farr ran the Sundancer night club. Tunnell was accused of racially profiling the night club. Farr filed a lawsuit. The corporation Farr worked for dropped the suit. However, Judge Stephan P. Mickle wrote that Farr had legitimate grievances.
Tunnell also tried to withhold the release of the videotape showing Martin Anderson's beating.
"Ain't gonna happen," Tunnell wrote in an e-mail to FDLE staffers about the request.
Tunnell has been implication with corruption for years. Why was he appointed to the FDLE? Tunnell wasn't even on the list on candidates. How Tunnell leapfrogged over other candidates is a potential stories for an entrepreneuring reporter.