Sunday, April 22, 2012
Sgt. Phil Williams Under Investigation
A veteran Oklahoma City police inspector has come under investigation because of accusations he leaked information about the Julie Mitchell homicide case and other cases to defense attorneys, The Oklahoman learned. Sgt. Phil A. Williams, 51, was placed on administrative leave, with pay, on Jan. 30. He denies wrongdoing. He has been an Oklahoma City police officer 18 years. Williams acknowledged he is frustrated, that he has not been told why he is being investigated and that he has not even been interviewed yet. “All I know is the rumors,” he said. He makes $37.60 per hour, records show. Police Chief Bill Citty confirmed that internal affairs officers are investigating allegations a police officer provided information to outside sources that could have jeopardized investigations. “We are looking at information that could rise to the level of criminal misconduct,” Citty said. The chief did not identify the officer by name, but he was responding to questions from The Oklahoman about Williams. Williams is being represented by and is a longtime friend of prominent Oklahoma City defense attorney Scott Adams. Adams told The Oklahoman that internal affairs investigators went to the jail to interview one of his clients. He said the investigators wanted to know whether that client had any advance warning of a search. He said the client told the investigators “that I've never given him any inside information, ever.” Adams angrily complained in a profanity-laced interview about the gossip surrounding the investigation of Williams. “I can tell you right now, Phil has never given me anything on any case — ever,” Adams told The Oklahoman. “I've known him for 20 ... years. I'm sick of it because I've spent the last 23 years guarding my reputation with the utmost integrity. And, then, simply because I win cases and am successful, somehow they think we have to cheat to do it that way and it offends me.” He also said, “You've got to understand as a lawyer all I have is my reputation — my reputation with judges, with prosecutors, and police officers, with people in the general public.” The attorney called Williams ethical and honorable. The attorney also said he would not want inside police information about clients before they're arrested. “I mean how ludicrous is that to think that I'm going to go keep them from being arrested so they don't have to pay me anything. It's retarded. I don't make money if they don't charge them,” he said. Adams said he is ready for the internal affairs investigators to come question him because “I have absolutely ... nothing to hide.” “They can come and grind on me all they want,” he said. Adams suggested Williams is being investigated because he discovered wrongdoing by an Oklahoma City police captain. The police chief said, “There's no retaliation. The investigation is based on specific allegations.” In a court affidavit last year, Williams wrote he has worked for more than 10 years in a Special Projects Group for the police. He wrote he has helped stop drug traffickers and busted up large-scale theft rings that “resulted in recovery of millions of dollars worth of stolen property and the arrests and convictions of numerous defendants.” Police refused to release to The Oklahoman an employment photograph of Williams. Williams was not involved in the investigation of the 2010 beating death of Julie Mitchell at her husband's Oklahoma City home. The case is still unsolved. Adams is one of the attorneys representing the victim's husband, prominent gambler Teddy Mitchell. Adams said Williams did intervene in the case on the night of the killing on behalf of Teddy Mitchell's then-1-year-old daughter. The girl was found with her dead mother. Teddy Mitchell was traveling out of state at the time. “My father knows Teddy Mitchell,” Adams said. “The night of the murder, my father calls Phil and says there's a kid there and we've got relatives that would pick up the kid because they were concerned about the child going into like DHS custody or something. So I think Phil calls the watch commander ... and said we have someone who can take the child.” Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater said the investigation of Williams has not affected any prosecutions because other witnesses were available. A federal prosecutor in a chop-shop case has notified a judge Williams is on administrative leave and will not be called as a witness at an upcoming sentencing. The prosecutor reported Friday other police officers reviewed the truck-theft case and uncovered no improper actions by Williams.