Leon Co. Commissioner raising concerns about TPD chief finalist

By: WCTV Eyewitness News
November 7, 2019

Major Lawrence Revell works in TPD's Criminal Investigative division; he's been at the department since 1992. (Image via TPD)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Leon County Commissioner Bill Proctor is calling on the City of Tallahassee to reopen the search for its next police Chief.

He's raising concerns about Tallahassee Major Lawrence Revell, one of three finalists for the position.

“I object to the finalist list," Proctor said in a Thursday news conference. Proctor says Major Revell was selected as a finalist without leaders ever asking about his fatal shooting of a suspect in 1996.

"Can Tallahassee consider someone for Chief of Police whose record does not include killing a black man? This committee has been blind-folded, kept in the dark and they have been duped by being denied the whole record of Mr. Revell,” Proctor said. "If the only way Tallahassee can get a police chief is that they qualify by virtue of the fact of having killed a black boy, we are in deep trouble."

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 tried to run over Revell. Officers on scene say Williams was driving straight toward Revell and ignored commands to stop.

The shooting sparked protests, including a march to the Leon County courthouse by about 60 people to demand a fair investigation.

“No one should kill a son of my District and subsequently be rewarded as Chief of Tallahassee Police,” Proctor said.

The state attorney, a TPD internal affairs investigation, and a grand jury review all found Revell was justified in the use of deadly force.

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 Community Partners Committee was kept in the dark about the incident.

"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.

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