NewsPalm Beach CountyRegion C Palm Beach CountyRiviera Beach


Mayor says he won't suspend Riviera Beach police chief

Posted at 6:59 PM, Nov 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-22 19:13:28-05

Riviera Beach Mayor Thomas Masters has the authority to suspend Police Chief Clarence Williams, but he made clear on Wednesday he will not. 

"I just don't have the kind of support I need,” Masers said. 

This despite a clear vote of no confidence by Riviera Beach police officers. Officers have told WPTV they suspect the chief played a key role in the controversial firing of City Manager Jonathan Evans on September 20.

The Palm Beach Police Benevolent Association sent a letter to all city leaders, demanding they take action and fire the chief. 

"He needs to go,” PBA President John Kazanjian said on October 6. “He needs to go now.”

Then there was the news conference by the chief in which he called out his own officers. 

“Officers that endanger the lives of babies by not responding timely,” Williams said. 

Accusations the chief refuses to back up with any documentation. 

We asked Mayor Masters what else needs to happen for him to suspend the chief. 

“What is the point of suspending the chief for two days, three days, five days?” Masters said. “The council - three people (referring to council members Terence Davis, Lynne Hubbard, and Dawn Pardo) - put him right back and give him the right pay. That's a paid vacation."
His message to Riviera Beach police officers: 

"Things are going to be changing very soon,” Masters said. 

Masters said he will meet with every shift and talk to officers next week. He will also appoint a citizen’s review committee, consisting of officers and citizens, to make recommendations how to improve the police department. 

“Maybe it’s time to elect the chief instead of appoint him?” Masters said. 

The chief has to retire no later than February and that’s when a new permanent city manager will start. 

On Tuesday, the chief sent a memo to interim City Manager Karen Hoskins, saying he will be out of office until December 4. That’s the day before, what used to be, his official retirement date. Since his initial announcement he has gone back on that date and now told the mayor that he does not have a specific retirement date, leaving the city in limbo. 

"There's a lot of things that happened around here that are strange,” Masters said. "Someone needs to address it. Someone needs to do something about it."
The question is - who?