WPD deputy chief on leave amidst SBI criminal investigation - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

WPD deputy chief on leave amidst SBI criminal investigation

Deputy Chief Marshall Williamson (Source: WECT) Deputy Chief Marshall Williamson (Source: WECT)

The Wilmington Police Department announced Wednesday they, along with District Attorney Ben David, have requested the State Bureau of Investigation to conduct a criminal investigation into an alleged larceny by an employee of the department.

According to Linda Rawley, spokesperson for the WPD, a complaint sent to the police department, as well as our newsroom and the NC Department of Justice, provided enough information to launch an internal affairs investigation.

The letter claimed Deputy Chief Marshall Williamson was taking ammunition for personal use.

In emails obtained from the City of Wilmington's public email server, we learned the Department of Justice forwarded the letter to Police Chief Ralph Evangelous, saying it was "a matter that should be initially handled by your agency.”

In his email to the SBI Wednesday, David said he was notified the internal affairs investigation had been completed, and requested they take possession of "the WPD's records that related to this alleged criminal conduct."

David also requested the SBI work with prosecutors with the Financial Crimes Unit of the Conference of the District Attorneys to determine if any charges are warranted, and for "the prosecution of this matter in the event that charges are filed." His full letter can be read here

We requested copies of ammunition invoices for the last three years as well as copies of all records related to the signing out of ammunition after receiving the letter, however we were told the sign-out logs were being held as part of an investigation. 

Williamson has been placed on administrative leave with pay. Williamson is a 32-year veteran with the Wilmington Police Department and oversees the Patrol Services Bureau.

Williamson's attorney, Gary Shipman, released a statement Wednesday after the announcement of the SBI investigation.

Today, Deputy Chief Marshall Williamson, someone who I’ve known for more than thirty (30) years, was placed on administrative leave, with pay, pending the completion of an investigation into the alleged unauthorized use of ammunition belonging to the Wilmington Police Department.  Deputy Chief Williamson, one of the Department’s firearms instructors who has lawfully possessed, used and dispensed tens of thousands of rounds of ammunition in his career, intends to fully cooperate with any investigation, and denies that he has engaged in any inappropriate conduct, much less conduct that warrants any criminal prosecution.  We ask that everyone refrain from an understandable rush to judgment surrounding Deputy Chief Williamson having been placed on administrative leave, an act that both he and I understand to be necessary to protect the integrity of the investigation being conducted.  Everyone who knows Marshall Williamson knows of his integrity, and we’re content that the investigation will show that.

In March, Evangelous appointed James Varrone as interim assistant police chief, which put him above Williamson as second-in-command in the department.

The news release states the WPD received a complaint in 2014 about possible misappropriation of City property, but did not find sufficient evidence to launch an internal affairs investigation at that time.  

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