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County Commissioner Raises Concerns Over Tallahassee Police Chief Candidate

Man in suit and tie stands at podium with flags behind him. Woman with camera is in the foreground
Robbie Gaffney

Leon County Commissioner Bill Proctor is asking the city to disqualify a candidate for Police Chief. Earlier this week, the city announced three finalists for the job. 

Inside the Tallahassee Police Department Major Lawrence Revelll steps up to a podium. He is one of three finalists for Tallahassee’s new Police Chief. In 1996, he shot and killed a young black man while on duty. 

“The shooting incident from 23 years ago was raised as a concern today. That was one of the saddest days of my career," Revell says.

An independent grand jury and internal investigation found no wrong-doing. But Leon County Commissioner Bill Proctor says the incident should disqualify Revell.

“If you make this man a police chief by withholding the information from the search committee, I believe that you then say to white police officers that the way to get to be a police chief in Tallahassee, you got to shoot a black man. You going to get away with it," Proctor says.

19-year old George Williams was wanted for at least 6 felony warrants. Revell and other Tallahassee police officer questioned Williams in his driveway. He then jumped in his car to get way and backed up into a police officer. Some witnesses say it was an accident, but Revell says it was intentional.

“The officer that was run over in this incident still lives with the scars--still has the scars from this event and is still an officer with us till this day," Revell says.

According to news accounts at the time, Revell ordered Williams to stop the car or he’d shoot. One account says Williams drove forward in the car while another says he was stopped. Revell says his interviewers knew of the incident.

“Many of those I am dear friends with and were around when this incident happened. So they’re very aware of this incident," Revell says.

City Manager Reese Goad says it’s expected that officers will sometimes have to use force on the job. He adds the incident is public record.

“The incident we speak of was readily available it is not an obscure fact in Tallahassee," Goad says.

Goad says he’s not planning to disqualify Revell or redo the search.

Robbie Gaffney graduated from Florida State University with degrees in Digital Media Production and Creative Writing. Before working at WFSU, they recorded FSU’s basketball and baseball games for Seminole Productions as well as interned for the PBS Station in Largo, Florida. Robbie loves playing video games such as Shadow of the Colossus, Animal Crossing, and Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles. Their other hobbies include sleeping and watching anime.