Riviera Beach officers react to Chief Williams' news conference

‘An act of defaming the character of his officers'

RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. - Riviera Beach Police Officers are reacting to the news conference held by Chief Clarence Williams.

In the news conference on Oct. 6, Chief Williams fiercely protected his brand by throwing his own officers under the bus.

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He accused officers of endangering the lives of babies by not responding timely, tipping off drug dealers, and not respecting their oaths.

He and his team of high-profile lawyers never provided details or specifics.

This is after a WPTV investigation exposed the chief attending an invitation-only meeting at Hurst chapel on Sept. 28. Sources say the group, which included council members Lynne Hubbard and Terence Davis, discussed ways to keep the fired City Manager Jonathan Evans out of office.

In the following days, the Palm Beach County Police Benevolent Association took a vote of no confidence against the chief, which passed 67-3.

Several officers have reached out to WPTV, but wanted to stay anonymous due to fear of facing retaliation from the chief.

One officer said that officers are "really scared".

Another officer wrote this statement:

The comments made yesterday by Chief Clarence Williams and his administrative staff were nothing more than an act of defaming the character of the 67 officers who casted a vote of no confidence in their own chief's ability to lead. Chief Clarence Williams stated last night that the 67 officers who did vote against him “have forgotten the core tenants  of the oath”. He further claimed that officers within the group who voted no confidence have “resisted being held accountable” by “tipping off drug dealers, hampering arrests” and “endangering the lives of babies by not responding timely”.

Chief Clarence Williams took an aggressive stance last night to “protect his brand fiercely”. He didn’t show up for a press conference as a Chief to address his staff, but as a defendant with lawyers to defend himself and not take responsibility for his actions. Chief Clarence Williams has not just created additional turmoil with his personnel, but has now broken the trust [of] the citizens of Riviera Beach.  Last night’s conference has now confirmed the leadership style Chief Clarence Williams and his staff have established; a leadership style of fear and intimidation. Unfortunately, after yesterday’s press conference, Chief Clarence Williams and his administrative staff have instilled additional fear into the minds of their rank and file, who now fear that if they don’t “RIDE”, they must “DIE”.

The PBA is asking city officials to remove the chief, who is scheduled to retire in December, from office immediately.

Only the city manager can fire the chief, which is currently Troy Perry who is serving as an interim city manager since Evans was fired.

The mayor can suspend the chief but council could overturn the decision.

Mayor Thomas Masters told Chief Williams that he wanted to have a one-on-one meeting with him to talk about his involvement at Hurst Chapel.

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