Redus: Will check into results of FOI request about chief

Mayor Carl A. Redus Jr. said he would like to do more research into the situation before commenting further about remarks he made earlier this week about an investigation into allegations about the police chief that appear to be incorrect, according to results of an FOI request filed by a city council alderman.

“I think I need to hold off, get a good understanding, speak with the chief and the people in the police department about what exactly transpired, and after that I would be more than happy to make any corrections or clarifications if any need to be made,” Redus said.

Redus said at Monday’s Pine Bluff City Council meeting that an internal affairs investigation concerning allegations made about Police Chief Brenda Davis-Jones by the assistant chief had been conducted and the investigators concluded the allegations were false.

Pressed for more details and documentation by Alderman Bill Brumett, Redus said he could not say for sure if all of the allegations had been shown to be untrue and said he would get the aldermen documentation soon.

Brumett filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the results of the internal affairs investigation and on Thursday provided The Commercial with the city’s response. Deputy Chief Ricky Whitmore wrote in a letter dated March 21 to City Attorney Althea Hadden-Scott that he had asked Deputy Chief Kelvin Sergeant and Office of Professional Standards Commander Sgt. William Roulhac if any internal investigation had occurred and was told that there was not one done.

On Thursday, Brumett also issued an emailed statement requesting an apology from the mayor for “misspeaking” and “not shooting straight with the council on this.”

On Friday in response to Redus’ statement, Brumett said he is still looking forward to finding out what the police department finds after looking into the allegations and getting the results in writing. Brumett said he first asked Redus for the information in February.

“I’d love to have an answer to those questions, to clarify if the chief did those things or not,” Brumett said. “That’s what I’m looking for, is to clear up the situation.”

The accusations were made by Assistant Police Chief Ivan Whitfield after Davis-Jones fired him in February after one of his service weapons was found on a man who had been arrested. 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 alleged that the source warned him that the chief’s “boyfriend” was drinking and was driving her car despite having a suspended license. Whitfield passed the information on to the chief, who said she took care of the situation and then pressed him for the source’s identity, Whitfield stated in the letter.

Whitfield said Davis-Jones pressed him for the information, threatening to subpoena his phone records and reminding him that she had promoted him to his current position.

“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.”

Davis-Jones fired Whitfield but he was reinstated by the council.

Contacted Friday about the information that no investigation had apparently been conducted into his allegations, Whitfield said he had no comment and has no intentions to further pursue the matter either in court or through requesting investigations internally or from outside entities.

“I just wanted my job back,” Whitfield said.

The discussion at Monday’s council meeting was prompted by a proposed resolution to express “no confidence” in Davis-Jones.

The council split 4-4 on the issue, with Brumett, Alderman Wayne Easterly, Alderman Thelma Walker and Alderman Steven Mays voting yes and Alderman Glen Brown, Alderman Charles Boyd, Alderman Irene Holcomb and Alderman George Stepps voting no. Holcomb and Stepps, however, told the mayor that they came very close to voting yes and that he needed to address the allegations made about the chief and other concerns that have been raised by police officers and the public.

A professional organization that includes more than half of PBPD officers has already held a vote of “no confidence” in the chief.

Contacted Friday, Brown said he still felt that a “no confidence” vote is the wrong way to address any issues the aldermen may have with a city employee’s performance. Brown said he did not agree with Davis-Jones’ decision to fire Whitfield, but that the “no confidence” vote was still not the right thing to do.

“She may in the end leave Pine Bluff, she may stay in Pine Bluff — that’s up to the mayor,” Brown said. “However, if she does decide to go somewhere else, it’s not up to us to tarnish her so badly that she can’t get a job anywhere else.”

Holcomb, Stepps and Boyd did not return phone calls requesting comment.