Lawrence police officer accused of injuring skateboarder and falsifying report resigns, department says
photo by: Contributed Photos
An officer who has been accused of fracturing a skateboarder’s elbow during an arrest and of lying under oath in a separate case has resigned from the Lawrence Police Department.
Former officer Brad Williams’ resignation went into effect Wednesday, Jan. 6, according to LPD spokesperson Patrick Compton, who did not indicate a reason for the resignation.
Williams had made only two arrests since mid-June 2020, according to Douglas County Jail records. For comparison, he had received an award from the Kansas chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving in December 2018 recognizing his 105 arrests for DUIs alone that year, according to a social media post from LPD.
LPD did not answer the Journal-World’s inquiry Friday about whether Williams’ assignment had changed prior to his resignation, but as of Nov. 10, 2020, Compton said Williams was assigned to the patrol division.
LPD also did not answer questions including whether Williams had been placed on paid or unpaid suspension at any time in the past year, whether any of Williams’ last few arrests had been investigated or whether he would be joining another police department.
“As with any employee who has separated employment, we are limited in what details we release regarding their employment history,” Compton said via email.
Williams arrested 45-year-old Duc Tran, of Lawrence, after encountering him skateboarding in the street in June 2019, the Journal-World has reported. Tran’s attorney, Mark Schoenhofer, raised concerns about the officer’s honesty after discovering a letter sent to the former police chief.
The complaint letter, sent by another defense attorney in February 2019, accused Williams and another former LPD officer of falsifying some details in their reports and testimony in an unrelated Lawrence Municipal Court case, the Journal-World has reported.
photo by: Sara Shepherd/Journal-World File Photo
Interim Police Chief Anthony Brixius said last year that the department’s internal investigation had cleared Williams of wrongdoing in that case, but Douglas County District Court Judge Pro Tem James George ruled that the prosecutor on the case still should have disclosed the letter to defense counsel.
George initially denied Schoenhofer’s motion to dismiss Tran’s case for concerns about untruthfulness, but after reviewing the evidence in the municipal court case, George changed his ruling. The written notice explaining the judge’s reasoning was not made part of the public case file, but the DA’s office moved to dismiss the case within an hour on Nov. 9.
It is unclear whether the ruling in that case and the allegations of untruthfulness will have any impact on other cases Williams has worked as a police officer.
The Journal-World asked Friday if the new district attorney, Suzanne Valdez, had made a determination of whether she would accept testimony from Williams going forward. Lucca Wang, public information officer for Valdez’s office, said via email that Valdez’s office was aware of Williams’ resignation, and “we are reviewing cases to determine whether or not resolution of these cases may be impacted by Mr. Williams’s prior service to LPD.”
As the Journal-World reported in October, Valdez said she wanted to craft a clear policy so that area law enforcement agencies know what her office expects them to share regarding issues of officer truthfulness. Wang said the office was working with law enforcement to finalize that policy.
“We know that being clear about our policy, as well as collaborating and communicating with law enforcement, furthers our teamwork approach to fulfilling the DA’s discovery obligation, which is the process and obligation that the DA’s Office has regarding certain records on officers,” Wang said.
The city of Lawrence could still face a lawsuit in connection with Williams. In a notice of claim sent to the city in September 2020, Schoenhofer detailed the injuries Tran reportedly suffered as a result of excessive force used in his arrest, including a fractured elbow, dislocated right shoulder, a chipped tooth, bruising and lacerations, emotional distress and more. It sought monetary damages of $3 million.
Under state law, the city had a set deadline to respond to Schoenhofer’s notice of claim. That deadline passed this week, and Schoenhofer said he planned to file a formal case against the city within the next two or three weeks.
LPD spokespeople previously told the Journal-World that the department does not investigate use of force complaints against officers while there is a court case pending — however, Brixius had asked to review Office of Professional Accountability investigations and “directed that this one proceed despite pending court proceedings,” Compton said via email in June. Compton noted that there was no timeline on when that would be completed, but it was being “actively reviewed.”
On Friday, Compton did not answer the Journal-World’s question about whether that review had been completed.
Compton said LPD had provided the Kansas State Commission on Peace Officers’ Standards and Training with the standard form that is completed when any law enforcement officer separates from an employer, and that “includes additional details and is available to prospective law enforcement employers,” for Williams.
Williams graduated from the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center in 2011 and went to work for the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, according to a KLETC news release at the time. He was hired at the Lawrence Police Department on May 15, 2017, according to city records.
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