Stalking case dismissed against community activist

Patricia Hawkins-Williams wanted restraining order against Gwen Denton

By Bob Norman - Investigative Reporter , Ben Candea

LAUDERDALE LAKES, Fla. - The vice mayor of Lauderdale Lakes asked for a restraining order against a self-proclaimed community activist, but didn't show up for the court hearing Tuesday.

Gwen Denton filed an ethics complaint against Vice Mayor Patricia Hawkins-Williams regarding her city expense account. Hawkins-Williams then petitioned for a restraining order against Denton and an associate, saying they were out to "destroy her."

"We have not done anything like that," said Denton.

Hawkins-Williams (pictured above) was scheduled to appear before Broward Circuit Court Judge Merrilee Ehrlich but never showed. The case was dismissed.

"She's accusing me of doing something I have not done in my life and I'm too old to do that now," said Denton.

Denton's attorney, Gregory Durden, claimed it was an attack on her First Amendment rights.

"She filed a stalking injunction against them thinking it would keep them from speaking out against her and it's just fundamentally wrong," he said.

Hawkins-Williams wasn't available for comment. The ethics commission has cleared her of any wrongdoing.

Durden said he wants the city to pay his legal fees, which could be up to $2,000.

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