Phoenix Police Union Calls Off No-Confidence Vote Against Chief Williams

By Scott Bourque, Lauren Gilger, Kaely Monahan
Published: Friday, November 1, 2019 - 4:53pm
Updated: Monday, November 4, 2019 - 4:03pm

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Chief Jeri Williams
Sky Schaudt/KJZZ
Jeri Williams in KJZZ's studio in 2018.

The union representing Phoenix police officers is no longer calling for a vote of no confidence against Police Chief Jeri Williams.

After Williams fired two officers last week over two high-profile incidents — one for racist social media posts, and another for threatening to shoot a family accused of shoplifting — the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association (PLEA) announced they’d hold a no-confidence vote.

PLEA’s President Michael "Britt" London now said the union’s members no longer support a vote.

“We decided that we needed to educate the membership on what a vote of this sort was, what it accomplishes, and discuss goals,” London said. “Overwhelmingly, the members that have attended these meetings think that a vote of no confidence is not something they want to participate in.”

London said the vote would be meaningless, since Williams is, in his view, just doing the Phoenix City Council’s bidding.

“It has to be political,” he said. “Terminating the employment of both these guys is just so uncharacteristic of Chief Williams, especially with the way she has handled past discipline. It’s only speculation, but it leads to this [being] political. She was either told to do this, or knew that she had to do this.”

London claims the national media attention over the two incidents influenced the firing decision more than the actual facts regarding the misconduct and that Mayor Kate Gallego and the City Council don’t show an interest in public safety, and are instead bowing to political pressure to fire the officers.

PLEA has said it has received hundreds of emails and calls criticizing the chief, but a group of African American clergy have written a letter to the City Council in support of the chief as she fights what they see as systemic racism in the Phoenix Police Department.

Rev. Reginald D. Walton is the civic engagement chair for the African American Christian Clergy Coalition, which wrote the letter. The Show spoke with him more about it.

Walton said the Phoenix Police Department has a history of systemic racism and the chief’s firing of these officers has been a long time coming.

The Show also reached out to Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego about this, and will bring you more on this as the story continues.

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