Vallejo POA votes no confidence in Police Chief Shawny Williams as tensions grow

Melanie Woodrow Image
Thursday, July 28, 2022
Vallejo POA votes no confidence in Chief Williams
Vallejo POA members and their attorneys held a press conference slamming what they call Police Chief Shawny Williams' unethical and failed leadership.

VALLEJO, Calif. (KGO) -- Vallejo Police Officers Association members and their attorneys held a press conference Wednesday slamming what they call Police Chief Shawny Williams' unethical and failed leadership.

Members of the Vallejo Police Officers Association were present but did not speak at a press conference questioning the leadership of Chief Williams.

"Ms. Fox and I had advised them it would not be of interest to do so because of the fear and it is real of retaliation by the Chief," said attorney Mike Rains who represents Vallejo Police officers.

"He's the king, he's not the chief," said Rains.

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Rains said in December of last year 73 out of 75 VPOA members voted they had no confidence in Chief Williams. He said two members did not vote.

"No one thought this chief is an ethical and capable leader of this department," said Rains.

Citing the number of officers being down to 87 from more than 100 and accusing Chief Williams of hiring his friends.

On Tuesday, Vallejo City Manager Mike Malone issued a statement that said the chief and department staff have worked closely with the city's HR to change how the department recruits cadets and lateral hires to bring the department back to a substantial staffing level.

"A lot of these folks aren't retiring, they're leaving, they are sick and tired of being maligned by a police chief who is incompetent, who is unethical, who does not support them," said Rains.

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Referring to allegations of officers bending down the corners of their badges to celebrate killing people.

In February of this year, Attorney Adante Pointer who represents several victims' families said, "These officers were celebrating in a gang-like ritualistic fashion the murder and death of black and brown people in the city of Vallejo."

Rains says the officers weren't celebrating but were recognizing making a split-second decision to use lethal force and surviving.

"There was no misconduct by any Vallejo police officers in that. That was not some sinister cult going on at all but the truth has never been told about what it was or how it came to be," said Rains.

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According to a city spokesperson, an outside investigation was concluded in September of last year. The findings have not been released publicly.

In February, a police spokesperson told the I-Team, "... the Office of the Chief proposed we hold a press conference and prepared draft statements for the City Attorney's Office review and response long ago..."

When asked about the hold-up, the Assistant City Attorney told the I-Team, "...we are unable to share information regarding the legal advice provided to any of our clients..."

The critique of Chief Williams on Monday also included allegations he cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars by firing Lt. Herman Robinson.

In an exclusive interview with ABC7 News in April of 2021, Robinson said, "A lot of individuals in the administrative end of the building feel that my best years are behind me and that I should have retired years ago. Age obviously is a factor in my termination."

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A long-time Vallejo Lieutenant who was one of two lieutenants the department fired last week is sharing his side of the story. Lieutenant Herman Robinson spoke to ABC7 News I-Team reporter Melanie Woodrow in a story you'll see Only On 7.

Through arbitration, Robinson's attorney says he was reinstated with back pay and overtime along with 10% interest.

"And that number will only continue to grow because Lt. Robinson has also filed a civil suit," said his attorney Julia Fox Wednesday.

Vallejo City Manager Malone's statement Tuesday said use of force statistics are down significantly and that he and the City Council continue to express strong support for Chief Williams.

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