MPD director calls for Memphis Police Association president to b - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

MPD director calls for MPA president to be charged with verbal misconduct

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MPD Director Toney Armstrong (left), MPA President Mike Williams (right) MPD Director Toney Armstrong (left), MPA President Mike Williams (right)

(WMC-TV) - Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong is filing a formal statement of charges against Memphis Police Association President Mike Williams for comments William's made to Action News 5.

Action News 5's Kontji Anthony witnessed a very heated exchange when the director and the union president met on the 12th floor of the Criminal Justice Complex Wednesday.

The bitter battle began when Williams interviewed with Action News 5's Kontji Anthony regarding a new report that says crime in Memphis dropped 5.7 percent in 2013.

"There were 19 shootings in less than 72 hours in this city," Williams said. "You can make numbers say anything you want them to say to make yourself look good," he added.

When Kontji asked Director Armstrong for reaction, the next few hours were eventful, to say the least.

Director Armstrong asked Anthony to speak with her one-on-one about the interview. He then told her he was calling Williams to his 12th floor office to have a face-to-face round table discussion about Williams' statements.

Anthony was there with other union reps and police administrators, but the camera was not allowed inside.

Armstrong and Williams went back and forth about the crime stats, neither was backing down.

Armstrong says he does not cook books; crime is down and he stands by his numbers. He then grilled Williams, asking if he had his own data to prove otherwise.

Williams said he did not, but said there is community perception that crime is up and he had a First Amendment right to say so.

"You cannot make reckless statements and hide behind First Amendment rights," said Armstrong, who also said Williams went too far this time.

Then, Armstrong leaned forward from the head of the table and announced, "I would like to file a formal statement of charges against Police Association President Mike Williams before the week is out."

Armstrong says officers can be charged for reckless statements, which he said was the case in this matter.

"The president of the police association, Mike Williams, will be held accountable for his actions," said Armstrong.

The meeting ended abruptly.

When Anthony asked Williams if he had anything to say regarding the meeting, Williams answered, "After that, I can't say anything pertaining to that."

That is because attorneys are now involved.

"I have a job to do and I do my job," said Williams.

Armstrong concluded, "I've always been straight. I tell it how it is. If the numbers were high, I'd tell you they're high, but we've met and exceeded all of our citizens' expectations."

Williams will be served with charges this week for what Armstrong called "reckless" statements, followed by an administrative hearing and now his job is on the line.

To see the current Memphis Police crime stats, click here.

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