Oklahoma City police officer promoted while under investigation

Oklahoma City police Lt. Phil A. Williams is accused of misconduct, including leaking information to defense attorneys.
by Nolan Clay Modified: September 9, 2013 at 3:00 pm •  Published: September 9, 2013

A longtime Oklahoma City police officer was promoted in May to lieutenant, even though he was the focus of an internal police investigation.

Phil A. Williams, 52, is accused of misconduct.

“I had to promote him, by contract,” Oklahoma City Police Chief Bill Citty said.

Most notably, Williams is accused of leaking information to defense attorneys, including his good friend, prominent Oklahoma City defense attorney Scott Adams.

He also is accused of soliciting money from several defense attorneys to pay back a $20,000 debt of his ex-wife. He also is accused of accepting cars at no cost from Adams, who represents a car dealership.

Williams denies the accusations.

“I challenge the assassination of my character through these false statements which have been painted in very broad strokes with a very wide brush,” he wrote in a sworn court affidavit Aug. 16.

Williams has been an Oklahoma City police officer since January 1994. He worked for more than 10 years in a police Special Projects Group.

“I have been involved in the investigation and successful prosecution of numerous cases involving hundreds of defendants, the seizure of thousands of pounds of illicit narcotics, and millions of dollars of U.S. currency,” Williams wrote in the court affidavit.

Citty said he had to promote Williams next because of the city's contract with the police union.

“I've had to do it before. While somebody is under administrative investigation, as long as there hasn't been … any type of disciplinary action taken against them at that point … by contract I have to promote them,” the chief said.

“Lieutenants, I have to promote the person on top of the list. … We started with 20 on the list and we've exhausted that list this year. We've had a number of lieutenant promotions. So when a person is at the top of the list, I don't have any flexibility. I have to promote them by contract.”

Citty noted that Williams is in a position where he is not doing any investigations and is not making arrests.

Williams wrote in the court affidavit that he is assigned to the Inmate Processing Unit.

The chief said he is reviewing investigative internal reports in order to decide if disciplinary action is necessary.

“It's really in my court right now, reviewing the reports and then deciding whether or not we move forward with it,” the chief said.

Attorney's response

Williams was placed on administrative leave with pay on Jan. 30, 2012, after first coming under investigation. Later, in 2012, he was returned to restrictive duty.

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by Nolan Clay
Sr. Reporter
Nolan Clay was born in Oklahoma and has worked as a reporter for The Oklahoman since 1985. He covered the Oklahoma City bombing trials and witnessed bomber Tim McVeigh's execution. His investigative reports have brought down public officials,...
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