By: WCTV Eyewitness News
November 18, 2019
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- The Executive Director of the Florida Police Chief’s Association is defending its handling of the search for Tallahassee’s next police chief, and blasting Leon county Commissioner Bill Proctor for his criticism of the process.
In a letter sent to Proctor Friday, FPCA Executive Director Amy Mercer writes that Commissioner Proctor has “unfairly criticized and maligned the Florida Police Chief’s Association and its staff regarding its involvement in the search for Tallahassee’s next police chief.”
Mercer goes on to call the city’s search for its new chief, facilitated by FPCA, the most open and transparent the group has ever been involved in.
“We are extremely proud and honored to be involved in such a well thought out process, that continues to encourage and provide opportunities for community input and involvement,” Mercer writes.
Since November 7, Proctor has been calling on the city to reopen the police chief search because Tallahassee Major Lawrence Revell was named a finalist without leaders asking about Revell’s fatal shooting of a suspect in 1996.
The commissioner is now asking the U.S. attorney to investigate that shooting. A TPD internal affairs investigation and a grand jury cleared Revell of any wrongdoing, finding the use of force justified.
Mercer’s letter to Proctor says FPCA does not perform background investigations and was not contracted to do so.
She says the city is now doing extensive background investigations on the three finalists, as is typical in Florida and throughout the country.
The executive director closes by saying the letter to Proctor is her final word on the issue
“I decline to engage you on a point-by-point rebuttal on your numerous material misrepresentations,” Mercer writes.
Revell shot and killed a black teen during an attempted arrest at the Joe Louis Street housing complex in September 1996.
Nineteen-year-old George Williams was shot once in the head after police say he backed into another officer, injuring him, then tried to run over Revell. Officers on scene say Williams was driving straight toward Revell and ignored commands to stop.
“No one should kill a son of my District and subsequently be rewarded as Chief of Tallahassee Police,” Proctor said.
Revell said the shooting was one of the hardest days of his life, and he struggled as a Christian and a human being. He said unfortunately, it's a reality that officers face on the job.
"This issue being brought up is unfair to the Williams family, it's unfair to the community, it's unfair to the officer that was injured in this event," said Major Revell.
He pushed back on the idea that the city’s Community Partners Committee was kept in the dark about the incident during its handling of the police chief search.
"Many of those, I am dear friends with, and they were around when this happened. So they are aware of this incident," said Revell.
He said he thinks Proctor's attack at this point is unfair to the process.
"We don't need to be throwing mud at each other, we need to be sitting down, having conversations about the real issues that face our City," said Revell.
Major Revell works in TPD's Criminal Investigative division. He's been with the department since 1992.
When asked about whether the Community Partners Committee knew about the incident, City Manager Reese Goad said that because Revell was cleared of any wrongdoing, "you don't single those events out, that's not the nature of how it would be done in a law enforcement background."
He said this will not affect the process of finding a new chief.