- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 26, 2015

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - A federal arbitrator has cleared the record of an Oklahoma City police officer who was reprimanded and placed on administrative leave following accusations he leaked information to a criminal defense attorney.

The Oklahoma City Police Department was ordered May 15 to remove two reprimands from the employment files of 54-year-old Lt. Phil A. Williams, The Oklahoman (https://bit.ly/1F8l2NW ) reported in a story published Tuesday.

Williams was a special projects investigator when he was placed on administrative leave in 2012 while he was under criminal investigation over the alleged information leak, which he denied.

The investigation ended after no evidence of criminal conduct was found but an administrative investigation continued. He was allowed to return to work in August 2012, starting on restricted duty.

The department later issued two reprimands against Williams over alleged failures to secure evidence in a theft-ring investigation and to properly document his use of a theft-ring informant. Williams had challenged the discipline, and arbitrator Steven A. Zimmerman ruled the police department hadn’t proven that Williams did anything wrong.

Zimmerman found several flaws with the investigation that resulted in the reprimands, determining that it took too long and that it was improperly expanded.

“This expansion caused a wide-open, anything-goes investigation of the grievant’s performance, as far back as 2003,” Zimmerman said. “The employer’s investigation was not fairly and objectively conducted.”

Williams has been assigned to police operations at the Oklahoma County jail. He filed a civil lawsuit against the city last year, claiming that the investigation was retaliation for reporting police misconduct.

He said he was told to remain quiet about a police captain’s suspected involvement in the auto-theft ring. He is seeking compensatory and punitive damages.

Police investigated Williams’ statements against the police captain, who is retired and denies wrongdoing, but took no action.

The city contests his lawsuit, and a jury trial is set for November.


Information from: The Oklahoman, https://www.newsok.com

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