Winnsboro Town Council members declined to hire a police officer who is accused of using excessive force and a fraudulent diploma in a previous department.
Former Delhi Police Officer Mary Williams was not hired by Town Council members in a special-called meeting Sept. 3 at Jack Hammon’s Community Center.
Up until Sept. 2, Williams was patrolling Winnsboro streets as a police officer under an emergency basis with Police Chief Will Pierce’s recommendation but never was “officially hired.”
In May 2021, Richland Beacon reported Williams resigned from the Delhi Police Department due to “personal reasons.” In the report, Delhi Mayor Jesse Washington said, “From what I understand, she applied for the (Delhi) job using a fraudulent diploma. I checked her employment records at the town and couldn’t even find a diploma in them.”
Additionally, Town Council members were shown U.S. Western District civil court documents against “Marie” Williams, Nathaniel "Roy" Williams and the Town of Delhi for excessive force, false arrest, state law violations and vicarious liability and liability.
James E. Gray filed the federal complaint on Aug. 11.
According to the complaint, on Feb. 19, 2021, Gray was detained and arrested by Williams after being pulled over for an alleged traffic violation. After asking the officer "what did I do?" Williams allegedly “very aggressively” slammed Gray on to the hood of her patrol unit, causing pain to his abdomen and groin.
Williams allegedly cuffed and placed Gray in her patrol car and transported him to the Delhi police station for booking. Gray alleges Williams tased him multiple times in the groin and buttocks areas until another officer had to physically pull Williams off of Gray.
Gray seeks punitive damages, attorney's fees and cost of suit. Gray is represented by Joseph J. Long.
When questioned by Town Council members, Pierce said he found out about the civil case against Williams only two days before the Sept. 3 meeting.
According to Pierce, Gray had been warned three times about driving without a licenses. During this traffic stop, Williams was going to give him a ticket but was “talking noise.”
Williams detained Gray and took him to the Delhi police station, continued Pierce. Upon arrival, he did not want to exit the vehicle and spit on her. When he spit on Williams, she tased him.
After listening and quizzing Pierce, Town Council members remained reluctant about hiring Williams.
“I know we need people right now,” Town Council member Rex McCarthy said. “We want to hire the best people. We want to surround ourselves with good people because at the end of the day everything they do reflects on you.”
Town Council member Jerry Johnson pointed to national news and the need to be careful when hiring police officers.
“You see all of these other cases on the news with officers mistreating people they arrest, I just don’t think we need to be putting a new lady on the force with this in her background,” Johnson said. “I can’t see this right now with her carrying a gun or a taser.”
Johnson made the motion to refuse Williams’ hire with a McCarthy second. The motion was passed unanimously with Town Council member Eddie Dunn absent.