Jeri Williams Biography
Phoenix appointed Jeri L. Williams as its police chief in 2016. She oversees the largest police department in Arizona, manages 2,900 sworn officers and around 900 civilian staffers and is in charge of a $600 million-plus budget. She has a big job.
An African-American, she is one of just 12 women running major US city police departments. Out of around 100 chiefs in America’s largest cities including Seattle, Oakland, Honolulu, Atlanta and, yes, Phoenix. Of the 12, half are women of color.
A 28-year law enforcement veteran, Williams came of age in the Phoenix Police Department but after 22 years, and making her way to the rank of assistant chief, took the job as the police chief in Oxnard, California. When she left that job after six years to return to her hometown and become Phoenix’s top cop, one newspaper story’s headline read: “Chief Williams is Finally Gone…” And with a scorching lede that read: “Let’s count the bloody costs of her administration and review the tragedies she left in her wake…”
Some history on Phoenix’s delayed body camera rollout for cops:
Taser protested after losing bid.
It was disqualified for bad behavior.
New chief Jeri Williams re-opened contract.
Taser (now Axon) won bid. https://t.co/HQqFk4XRuu
— BrahmResnik (@brahmresnik) June 18, 2019
We’ll get to those shortly.
For now, she has come under fire because her officers are accused, indeed seen on video, terrorizing a Black couple and their very young children over an alleged shoplifting incident. The couple was not charged with any crime related to the alleged shoplifting; they do admit that their 4-year-old had taken a dollar-store, Barbie-like doll. Two of Williams’ cops said, on video, that they’d shoot Dravon Ames, 22, his pregnant fiancée Iesha Harper, 24, and their daughters, Island, 4 and 1-year-old London after stopping the family following the Family Dollar visit.
The video has been shared globally and elicited uniform condemnation of the officers’ actions, and police and city leadership; the cops’ bosses.
UPDATE In Phoenix, it’s the city manager who hires the police chief. Spox for City Manager Ed Zuercher tells #12News he continues to have confidence in Police Chief Jeri Williams and looks forward to hearing from community at Tuesday’s town hall. pic.twitter.com/HJIda0FfoB
— BrahmResnik (@brahmresnik) June 18, 2019
There’s no disputing what was done and said as it’s on video, but Phoenix police appear to say the actions of its officers, while disturbing were somehow justified. Williams said she was disturbed the by video but then put out a fact sheet about the case which appeared to blame the victims, at least in part. But pulling a gun on an unarmed pregnant woman and her infant and toddler while doing the same and then assaulting her fiance, has ignited global outrage.
The cops are still on the job. Still getting paid — they earn more than $72,000 a year — for “desk duty.”
And Williams is in charge.
Jeri Williams Age
Jer Williams Family( Husband, Sons)
Jeri Williams is married to Cody Williams, a former councilman and now a Justice of the Peace in Phoenix; and have two sons. Their son Alan, a newly signed center for the Phoenix Suns.
“I think the way they raised me has played into it a lot. What they do is great and is important for the community, but who they are is why I am who I am today. They’re great people. People of faith, people who work so hard throughout their whole life to provide for my brother and me. A life we are so blessed to be able to have,” said Alan. At every game, Alan looks up to his parents in the stands.”After the National Anthem, say a prayer, I touch my chest, they touch their chest,” he said. The National Anthem has become so centre, especially this year. Colin Kaepernick, the protests — has he ever been tempted to sit or protest during the anthem? Alan replied, “I wouldn’t say tempted. I believe the National Anthem stands for the good in the country.”
Jeri Williams Facebook
Two days after the story broke, on Friday night, Williams posted a one-minute video statement to Facebook. She spoke about her officers “making contact” with the couple. She said, “like you, I’m disturbed by the language and action of our officer,” but said the incident is “not representative of the majority” of the police department
But retired federal law enforcement officer Larry Athey from New Orleans wrote, “…this wasn’t a one-off. He’s more than likely done this before & his rank probably knows about it.”
The situation n Phoenix, AZ was a classic case of an over-reaction by white cops dealing w/ black ppl. The lame ass apology from the BLACK police chief, #JeriWilliams..she should be ashamed of herself for any attempt at distracting by saying that there is more to the situation.
— Eric Brown (@EricBrown1911) June 17, 2019