Despite (or because of?) a drop in police shootings on his watch, the Vallejo Police Officers Association wanted Chief Shawny Williams out. On Friday, they got their wish when he suddenly resigned.
When then-San Jose Police Department deputy chief Shawny Williams took over as Vallejo Police Chief in 2019, the department was one of the most violent (and arguably inept) police forces in California, having killed 19 people in the previous nine years, once firing 55 rounds of ammo into an innocent man’s car. And it was still reeling from the national embarrassment of botching the sexual assault case of kidnapping victim Denise Huskins, whom they falsely accused of faking her own kidnapping.
On one hand, Williams did preside over a significant decrease in use-of-force and police shootings. On the other hand, he also presided over the shooting of Sean Monterrosa who was unarmed and kneeling, the department’s dishonest accounts and destruction of evidence in that case, and the gruesome badge-bending scandal where officers celebrated their own fatal shootings. Chief Williams tried to fire the officer who killed Monterrosa, which led to the Vallejo Police Officers Association voting “no confidence” in Williams because apparently accountability was ruining their morale.
Welp, on Friday, the police union got their wish. KTVU reports that Williams abruptly resigned as Vallejo police chief Friday, essentially citing no reason for the decision.
And very oddly, Chief Williams’s online profile on the Vallejo PD website has been suddenly scrubbed.
"My time with the City of Vallejo has been rewarding both professionally and personally," Williams said in a statement reported by NBC Bay Area. "I arrived at the City during a challenging and controversial period in the City's history. It was my goal as Police Chief to build collaborative partnerships between the Department and the community. While the Department still has strides to make toward its ultimate goals, together we have accomplished many tasks that I feel have put VPD on the right path to success and I wish the City and Department all the best."
So what happens now? Per NBC Bay Area, Vallejo City Manager Mike Malone appointed Deputy Chief Jason Ta as interim chief. But given the broader government ineptitude of Vallejo, it’s hard to be optimistic that any new leaf will be turned over here.
Image: San Jose Police Department