86ºF

Police reassign school resource officer accused of mishandling disturbances involving student

Officer Vonley Williams is 15-year veteran of Margate Police Department

MARGATE, Fla. – A Margate police officer has been reassigned from Atlantic West Elementary School for allegedly mishandling two disturbances involving a student, authorities said Thursday in a news release.

Margate police said they received a complaint Feb. 21 regarding two incidents that occurred at the school at 301 NW 69th Terrace involving Officer Vonley Williams, the school's assistant principal and a student.

According to a police memo, the principal was notified in an email by the child's mother that Williams lifted the boy over his shoulders and carried him to the office of school guidance counselor Charlotte Jalieba on Feb. 15 after "an incident" involving the boy and the assistant principal, Jounice Lewis. 

File: Internal Affairs memo regarding Officer Vonley Williams

Police said the incident reportedly happened after the boy got into an argument with another student in the cafeteria and yelled at him. 

After another incident with Lewis on Feb 17, police said Williams was accused of screaming at the boy, grabbing him by the back of the sweater, causing the student to feel like he was being choked, and threatening to handcuff him. 

Surveillance images from the school show Williams holding the boy by the back of the shirt, causing the boy's shirt to be pressed up against his neck and in another image he is seen putting the boy in what appeared to be a "head lock type of hold," the police memo said. 

The boy's mother said her son told her that the officer yelled at him during one of the incidents, "This is my place. I make the rules!"

The boy told his mother that Lewis had also screamed in his face. 

The student's mother said Williams requested to speak to her on the phone following the Feb. 17 incident and told her that her son was "misbehaving again," and that he was going to take him to the University Pavilion to have him "Baker Acted." 

The mother said she asked Williams what Baker Acted meant, but he would not explain it to her and simply restated that if she did not pick her son up, he would have him Baker Acted. 

When the mother showed up to the school, she said she was given a handwritten note by Williams that had instructions for medical personnel and the address for the University Pavilion.

The instructions on the note stated: "Have him examined for oppositional defiance disorder. Check dosage level for ADHD medication."

Police said Williams was re-assigned to the Patrol Division pending the findings of an investigation.

The elementary school has since been staffed with a new school resource officer.

Police said an investigation into the incidents was concluded on Aug. 1 and found that Williams violated several departmental policies involving proper documentation, school resource officer standard operating procedures and use of force protocols. 

The State Attorney's Office reviewed the case and determined that criminal charges would not be filed against Williams, authorities said.

Williams has been employed by the Margate Police Department since 2002 and had been assigned to the elementary school since 2014.

 


About the Author: