CHARLESTON, W.Va. — An internal investigation into the conduct of a Charleston police officer spilled over into the ongoing dispute between the city and Kanawha County Prosecutor Mark Plants Thursday.
Plants issued a news release Thursday afternoon announcing his office was going to fully review all pending criminal cases involving Lt. Shawn Williams, who is currently on administrative leave. Plants said there are allegations of racial discrimination involving Williams and as a prosecutor he is required to disclose substantiated allegations of misconduct involving police officers. He said he would no longer be using Williams as a witness in any cases.
Charleston Mayor Danny Jones quickly responded blasting Plants for “thrusting himself” into the internal investigation of Williams.
“If Mark Plants is going to be involved in any investigation of any Charleston police officer—we’ll go back to court and have him excluded from that too,” Jones told MetroNews.
The mayor was referring to the city getting Plants and the prosecutor’s office excluded from domestic violence-related cases after the prosecutor was charged with two misdemeanor domestic-related crimes earlier this year.
Plants told MetroNews he was not investigating Williams but once his office became aware of the allegations the law requires disclosure.
Lt. Williams was placed on paid administrative leave Sept. 22 pending the outcome of an internal investigation. It’s been learned the investigation is focused on racially insensitive videos found on Williams’ home computer. City police met with Plants’ Chief of Staff Chuck Miller Wednesday and showed him the videos.
Mayor Jones said the city would handle the Williams investigation and residents can be confident it will be thorough.
“He (Plants) does not need to thrust himself into the middle of this. It has nothing to do with him and we’re going to handle it,” Jones said.
Prosecutor Plants said it’s not a criminal investigation so he has no part in it but repeated he is required to disclose any possible misconduct by police officers. Plants said his news release is not connected to the so called “bad blood” between himself and the police department over the domestic violence cases.
“It hasn’t nothing to do with it. The law clearly states that any substantiated allegation of misconduct must be disclosed. Period. That has nothing to do with bad blood,” Plants said.
Meanwhile, the police department’s internal investigation of Williams continues. Chief Brent Webster said again Thursday he doesn’t know when it will be concluded.