(Memphis) Police Union President Mike Williams set off a firestorm when he told News Channel 3 the police director’s decision to pull the TACT Squad off the streets after a double shooting and a house fire was likely political, with city hall having a hand in the mix.
“It leads me to believe once again it’s coming from city hall, there are possibly other motives,” Williams told us on Monday.
“Mike Williams, you are flat our lying,” said Memphis Mayor A C Wharton, when
WREG confronted him about the claims.
The Mayor was livid.
“I want Mr. Williams to come and back that up. Back that up.”
“To produce truth there would be no proof because everything would likely be word of mouth. We are not trying to prove anything,” Williams told us Tuesday in reply to the mayor’s challenge.
“It’s a disgrace to the police department to lie and I will see that the director deals with that,” said Wharton.
Apparently, he did.
Within ten minutes, the Memphis Police Director, who until today didn’t have time to talk to WREG about his decision, announced a news conference 15 minutes later to set the record straight.
“I didn’t even consult with the mayor nor did I ever consult with the mayor about any decision in reference to day-to-day operations of the police department,” said Director Armstrong.
He insisted he alone made the decision to pull the TACT Squad off the streets to evaluate and restructure the unit and he told the mayor once the decision was made.
The new man who Armstrong tapped to head up TACT is Officer Sam Hines.
He served in the TACT unit for two years back in 1998.
We asked the director what was Sam Hines’ most recent position.
“He was in charge of the Mayor’s Executive duty detail,” said Armstrong.
He was Mayor Wharton’s body-guard.
Mike Williams says many in the rank and file of the police department still have questions about who is really calling the shots.
He says the lies are a part of the rocky history.
“We have a contract you go back on the contract, liar. OK, you say the contract is invalid, liar,” says Williams.
Director Armstrong says the union president’s comments are reckless and divisive.
The two talked after our story aired Monday night.
Mike Williams says Director Armstrong has prerogative on what happens in the department, and his assumption about the TACT Squad was based on what’s happened in the past.