Willie L. Williams, Head of 2 Police Forces in Turmoil, Dies during 72

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Willie L. Williams in 1995 as a initial black military arch in Los Angeles. He was also a initial such personality in Philadelphia.

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Nick Ut/Associated Press

Willie L. Williams, a initial African-American to lead a military army in Philadelphia and Los Angeles, cities in that hostilities between a military and black adults had recently flared into violence, died on Tuesday during his home in Fayetteville, Ga. He was 72.

The means was pancreatic cancer, pronounced his sister-in-law Patricia Odoms.

Mr. Williams was a 28-year maestro of a Philadelphia force when he was named commissioner in 1988, 3 years after a residence owned by a black belligerent organisation famous as Move was inebriated by a police, ensuing in 11 deaths and withdrawal a area in ruins. The military force there had been famous for crime scandals and a story of brutality.

Mr. Williams’s reign of 3 and a half years in Philadelphia was noted by relations peace. Embracing a judgment of village policing, he was credited with employing and compelling some-more women and minority organisation members and with restructuring a military dialect to supplement mini-stations and feet patrols.

A male of totalled temperament, he was hold in ubiquitous venerate in Philadelphia neighborhoods where there was story of mutual disregard among residents and a police. But he was lured divided to Los Angeles — during some-more than twice his Philadelphia income — in Apr 1992.

There, he transposed a warlike arch Daryl F. Gates, who had presided over what many deliberate an arrogant, physically assertive force that had been antagonistic to minority neighborhoods. In Mar 1991, Los Angeles officers were videotaped assault a motorist, Rodney G. King, as they arrested him and dual passengers after a high-speed chase. Four of a officers were charged by a state with attack and use of extreme force underneath tone of authority.

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Mr. Williams was named a new arch a successive spring, only as a hearing was being held. Less than dual weeks later, before he strictly insincere his new post, a 4 officers were clear on only about all counts. (On one excessive-force count opposite one officer, a jury was hung.) The city erupted in 6 days of secular violence, and Mr. Gates and his force were widely criticized as being ineffectual in their response.

Mr. Williams managed to ease a enmity between a city, generally a black residents, and a military force. (It helped that in a successive hearing in sovereign court, dual officers in a King box were convicted of violating Mr. King’s polite rights, and they served time in prison.)

Mr. Williams addressed passionate nuisance and taste on a force (he named a initial womanlike commander in dialect history), and was an disciple for reforms in military training and fortify laid out by a 1991 elect allocated by Mayor Tom Bradley after a King episode.

But over all, Mr. Williams had a hilly time of it in Los Angeles. Brought in as a anti-Gates, he was hold in guess by many Gates loyalists in a department, who distrusted him as an alien and, as some have charged, since he was black; many suspicion he was scantily understanding of a dialect during a review of a 1994 murders of Nicole Simpson and Ronald Goldman and a successive hearing of O. J. Simpson.

Mr. Williams also ran afoul of some Los Angeles business and domestic leaders, who found his government of a dialect slack. And he was undone by what he saw as a competing agendas of a City Council; a city’s Police Commission, a citizens’ house that oversees a department; and a mayor, Richard Riordan, who succeeded Mr. Bradley in 1993 and who clashed with Mr. Williams on enlargement of a military force, among other issues.

Two years into Mr. Wiliams’s tenure, his care came underneath oppressive criticism, that was exacerbated when a late emissary arch lifted questions about rumors of reprobate actions. The Police Commission began an review into allegations that Mr. Williams and his family had used city cars, drivers and cellphones for private functions and that he had improperly supposed giveaway bedrooms during casino hotels in Las Vegas.

He denied any wrongdoing, though a elect members reprimanded him, observant he had been prejudiced when he was asked if he had perceived giveaway bedrooms during Caesars Palace. He left bureau in 1997 after portion a five-year reign and was transposed by Bernard C. Parks.

Willie Lawrence Williams Jr. was innate in Philadelphia on Oct. 1, 1943, a oldest of 7 children of Willie Sr., who worked in a meatpacking plant, and a former Helen Stansbery. He attended internal open schools and warranted an associate grade in business administration from a Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science. He assimilated a Philadelphia military force when he was 20.

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He married Evelina Edwards, Ms. Odoms’s sister, in 1966. In further to his wife, he is survived by his mother; dual brothers, Roger and David; dual sisters, Catherine Walker and Christine Nutt; 3 children, Willie III and a twins Eric and Lisa; and 5 grandchildren.

As his time in Los Angeles came to an end, Mr. Williams reflected on his reign there in an talk with The Los Angeles Times.

“Politics has severely intruded, for a right or a wrong reasons, into a day-to-day government activities of a Los Angeles Police Department,” pronounced Mr. Williams, whom The Times described as “sometimes contemplative, infrequently bitter.”

He spoke about a fractiousness that characterized most of his time in Los Angeles. “Let me tell we something,” he said. “When you’re a arch of police, when you’re a leader, we have to do what we consider is right.”

He added: “Willie Williams would not be means to demeanour in a mirror, demeanour during his family, demeanour during his children, demeanour during his friends and neighbors, demeanour during people in this dialect if we only packaged adult my bags and went divided when someone says: ‘Chief, we don’t like what you’re doing. Get out of town.’ we didn’t travel into Los Angeles to be tossed out of town, and we wasn’t going to be tossed out but expressing my concerns.”

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