No internal investigation was conducted into accusations made last month about Pine Bluff Police Chief Brenda Davis-Jones by the assistant chief, a city alderman learned from a FOI request Thursday.
Mayor Carl A. Redus Jr. said at Monday’s Pine Bluff City Council meeting that an investigation into the accusations had been conducted and the accusations against Davis-Jones were found to be false.
Pressed by Alderman Bill Brumett as to whether there was some sort of documentation that could be provided to the council, Redus said: “Research that was done by internal affairs on that situation, those accusations were found to be untrue.”
“Those accusations all are untrue?” Brumett said.
“Whether it was all of them, I can’t say to that, but that was just what you said: accusations,” Redus said, before agreeing to provide the council with documentation at a later date.
The discussion took place while the council was considering a proposed “no confidence” vote in Davis-Jones. Ultimately, the item did not pass.
The accusations were made by Assistant Police Chief Ivan Whitfield after Davis-Jones fired him in February. In a letter to the council, Whitfield accused Davis-Jones of firing him in retaliation for refusing to identify a source who had provided him with information that reflected unfavorably about Davis-Jones’ alleged boyfriend. Whitfield was later reinstated by the council.
Brumett said Thursday he filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the results of the internal investigation into the allegations against Davis-Jones.
He provided The Commercial with the response he received from the city, which came in the form of a letter from Deputy Chief Ricky L. Whitmore.
“I have spoken with Sergeant William Roulhac, who is currently assigned as the Office of Professional Standards Commander, in reference to an internal investigation into allegations made by Assistant Chief Ivan Whitfield concerning his termination,” the letter from Whitmore states. “Sergeant Roulhac informed me that no investigation into the matter was done by the Office of Professional Standards. I also spoke with Deputy Chief Kelvin Sergeant about the same matter. He stated [that] he did not investigate any allegations of termination that Assistant Chief Whitfield made, either.”
Brumett provided his response to the findings in an emailed statement: “I am appalled at the mayor for not shooting straight with the council on this. I will be looking for a response in writing from the chief to the council answering the issues submitted by Assistant Chief Whitfield through his attorney and an apology from the mayor to the council for misspeaking.”
A message left after business hours on Redus’ cell phone was not returned by press time. A message left on Davis-Jones’ cell phone was also not returned.
According to Whitfield’s letter to the council in February, Whitfield was notified that one of his service weapons had been found on a man who had been arrested. The discussion then turned to older issues regarding the chief’s alleged boyfriend, according to Whitfield’s account.
“After the aforementioned conversation, Chief B. Davis-Jones sat down in front of my desk and stated to me, ‘Whitfield, I still want to know who told you about my friend.’ This was in reference to a call I received from a person, not wanting to be identified to the chief.
“The person gave me some information about the chief’s boyfriend. The caller stated that the chief’s boy was at Second and Main and officers were going to stop him because his license was suspended and he has been drinking. The caller stated I want the chief to know, but I don’t want my name in it. I assured him that I would take care of notifying her.
“I called the chief and gave her the information I had received. I asked her if he was at Second and Main, she stated yes. I asked her was he driving her vehicle, she stated yes. I said you need to call him and handle your business.”
Whitfield stated in his account that Davis-Jones hung up and later called him back to say that it had been taken care of. She asked him for the person’s identity at the time, but he refused. She asked him again for the information on the day that Whitfield was notified about his weapon. When he said no again, according to Whitfield, “She stated she was going to subpoena my phone records.” Whitfield responded that the call came to his house.
“Chief Jones said I promoted you and gave you a pay raise,” Whitfield stated in his account.
He still refused, Whitfield said.
“Chief Davis-Jones then stated so you’re going to side with him over me,” Whitfield stated in his account.
Whitfield still refused, according to his account.
“Chief Davis-Jones then stated if you or anybody messes with my two boys or my man you are going down. I mean that,” Whitfield stated in his account. “At that point I knew what that meant; I would pay the price for not telling her.”
Contacted for comment at the time, Davis-Jones said the facts as stated in Whitfield’s account were incorrect.