Vallejo police union hands down vote of no-confidence against top cop
VALLEJO, Calif. - The Vallejo police union revealed Wednesday that they've issued a vote of no-confidence against Police Chief Shawny Williams.
At a news conference, union attorneys said they tried to keep the December vote under wraps, imploring city officials to make a change. But they said they were forced to go public because of the city's inaction.
"The citizens of Vallejo are not safe, under the leadership of Shawny Williams," said Michael Rains, an attorney for the union. "Something has to be done."
Rains, flanked by members of the police union's board, said Williams has unfairly disciplined officers, hired friends on his command staff and paid lip service to transparency.
"They are sick and tired of being maligned by a police chief who is incompetent, who is unethical, who does not support them," Rains said.
The chief fired Lt. Herman Robinson, a 48-year veteran, for allegedly improperly sharing information with other officers. But Robinson, a former "officer of the year" who stood next to Rains at the news conference, was recently reinstated with back pay.
Robinson's attorney Julia Fox said, "Chief Williams often vomits a word salad of the quote -unquote 21st century policing pillars. His reliance on those buzzwords essentially is all fizz and no gin. They yield absolutely no substance when it comes to Shawny Williams."
The chief declined to comment but instead referred to an annual report that touted the department's progress with reforms and technology like in-car cameras.
The top cop has the backing of city manager Mike Malone. In a statement, Malone said in part, "The City Council and I continue to express our strong support for Chief Williams and the transformational reform initiatives being employed to create a department that serves the needs and desires of the Vallejo community."
Malone said he's also asking all unions, staff and the community to work together for the "betterment of Vallejo."
Outside the news conference, citizens and a councilmember made their displeasure with the union clear.
"The police union has been putting out this propaganda against our police chief, who has been really, really trying his best," said Councilmember Tina Arriola.
Civil rights attorney Melissa Nold she's gotten far less complaints about Vallejo police since Williams' arrival.
"From the community's standpoint, we see him doing the things that we have asked the city to do," Nold said
Michelle Monterrosa said she supports the chief, because he wants to fire the officer who fatally shot her brother Sean.
"For our family right now, there's an alignment with the chief. Our overall goal is to terminate Jerrold Tonn and not have him put back on the force," she said.