Piedmont mayoral candidate fired from job as cop
by Eddie Burkhalter
eburkhatler@annistonstar.com
Sep 10, 2012 | 7348 views |  0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
PIEDMONT — A Piedmont police officer who ran for mayor in last month’s election was terminated Monday from his job with the Police Department.

Piedmont police Chief Steven Tidwell said via press release that Tony Williams was discharged “for numerous violations of departmental and city policies, including conduct unbecoming of a police officer.”

Asked what violations led to Williams’ dismissal, Tidwell wrote in an emailed response to The Star that the department is “not at liberty to release details regarding the specific misconduct.”

City records show Williams had been on paid administrative leave since Aug. 30 pending an internal investigation of Williams by the department.

Williams had worked as a police officer for the department since 2006.

The police statement said Williams’ firing is unrelated to information that became public during the mayoral campaign about Williams’ fathering of a child with a 16-year-old girl in California in 2003; Williams then was 32. Williams and the mother currently share custody of the child.

While sex between adults and children younger than 18 is criminal in California, no charges had been filed as Monday with regard to the California incident, said John Hall, senior public information specialist with the District Attorney’s Office in Riverside, where Williams’ relationship took place. Hall told The Star in August that the statute of limitations given the parameters of a situation like Williams’ is 10 years.

Asked Monday if Williams could face any charges related to the violations that led to his discharge, Tidwell responded by email stating “At this time there are no pending criminal charges.”

It wasn’t immediately clear whether the dismissal was related to a May 7, 2012 message from Williams’ Facebook account to a then-17-year-old girl.

The Star received a printout of the message Aug. 26 from an adult close to the girl. That adult also provided Piedmont police with a copy of the message, the source told The Star.

The Facebook message reads: “You’ve come over like twice maybe, and I haven’t been able to get you to come back since. Here’s something you should know though. Everyday day when I come home from work I go to bed, I clutch my pillow as I sleep, wishing it were you. I wish every day I could fall asleep with you next to me and wake up the same…You keep telling me you love me , but you’ve done nothing to show it.”

“…This is all I can really say, it’s time to put up or shut up…show me you love me or stop saying it. You know where I live. My arms have always been here to hold you!” the message continues.

When asked if he wrote the Facebook message, Williams responded Monday in an electronic message, writing "Yes, I wrote those words, to an ex-girlfriend, not to (the girl), however a friend thought it would be funny when I left my facebook open and sent that to numerous people, (the girl) apparently being one of them."

Williams, 41, wrote that the girl was his child's babysitter and that he has never tried to coerce anyone into a sexual relationship.

"(The girl) has gone through a tough time and I reached out to help a friend, as I tend to do," Williams wrote to the Star Monday.

Recount in mayoral race

Meanwhile, the City Council Monday agreed to a recount of the votes in the mayoral race. Williams, the third-place finisher in Piedmont’s Aug. 28 mayoral race, asked the city on Wednesday for the recount. No date for the recount has been set as of Monday afternoon.

Williams’ written request for the recount stated that he had “reasonable suspicion to believe that the results of said election to have been miscounted, switched or otherwise tampered with.”

The request also states that Williams has reason to believe that “voter fraud may have been involved as a result of names being removed from voters list as of specified time…” and that “sources also indicated that a candidate of the election may have been involved of the purging of voters list days before said election.”

The request also states that an “unauthorized person may have been present inside the voters’ hall during time of voting as well as the counting of elector votes.”

With 256 votes, Williams would have to pick up 163 votes to make it into a runoff with candidate Brent Morrison, who received 519 votes.

A runoff between Morrison and candidate Rick Freeman is scheduled for Oct. 9.

Staff Writer Eddie Burkhalter: 256-235-3563. On Twitter @burkhalter_star.

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Piedmont mayoral candidate fired from job as cop by Eddie Burkhalter
eburkhatler@annistonstar.com

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