December 2, 2021

Patrick Taylor Says Uncertified Cop Zach Williamson in Delta County Texas Choked Him, and Then Issues Obtained Wild

11 min read


In October 2019, Patrick Taylor drove residence to Cooper, Texas, in rural Delta County after visiting a pal one night time. The 37-year-old Black man parked in his driveway and was about to enter his residence when, he mentioned, Zachary Williamson appeared.

Based on Taylor, Williamson—a white, 16-year veteran police officer who has bounced round 9 small North Texas law-enforcement businesses—represented himself as a member of the Delta County Sheriff’s Workplace and shouted at Taylor, “Why did you run from me?”

Taylor instructed The Day by day Beast he was confused, as a result of he didn’t discover Williamson following him, and by no means noticed Williamson flash police lights. Then, in a matter of moments, he claims in a lawsuit filed in federal courtroom obtained by The Day by day Beast, Williamson grabbed him, put him in a shoulder lock, and slammed him to the bottom.

Whereas Williamson waited for an additional deputy to reach, Taylor alleged in his swimsuit, Williamson positioned him in a chokehold. “It was mind-boggling to me,” Taylor mentioned.

Williamson didn’t reply to a request for remark for this story.

Taylor was quickly arrested for driving whereas intoxicated, in accordance with the swimsuit, however he alleges that the arrest was primarily based on Williamson’s “private observations,” insisting {that a} breathalyzer or blood alcohol test was by no means carried out. Incident reviews weren’t produced by the Delta County Sheriff’s Workplace, which didn’t reply to a number of requests for remark previous to publication of this story. Taylor declined to debate whether or not he’d been below the affect that night time; when requested a couple of prior driving below the affect conviction in 2011, he mentioned, “That’s a factor in my previous.”

Nevertheless it’s what occurred subsequent that makes Taylor’s story so unreal.

After the encounter with Williamson, Taylor was taken to the Delta County Jail. Over the subsequent yr, Taylor mentioned, he misplaced his job, noticed his household lose their residence, and was despatched to a court-ordered rehab heart earlier than his prices have been lastly dismissed in August. It was then, he mentioned, that he discovered that on the time of the arrest, Williamson was not licensed to be a peace officer—a incontrovertible fact that he and his lawyer declare was lined up by native officers together with County Choose Jason Murray, County Legal professional Jay Garrett, and former County Sheriff Ricky Smith.

In different phrases, in accordance with Taylor—and two officers his lawsuit cites as having given statements a minimum of partly backing up his account—he came upon the cop who presupposed to bust him was uncertified, and your complete system got here crashing all the way down to cowl its tracks. Specialists described the saga because the kind of uniquely brazen episode that would gas mistrust within the felony justice system—significantly in sparsely populated rural areas like Delta County.

“This solely will increase the cynicism of society in opposition to regulation enforcement,” Kalfani Ture, professor of sociology and felony justice at Mount Saint Mary’s College and a former police officer in Georgia, instructed The Day by day Beast.

Murray, the county decide, didn’t reply to a request for remark. Garrett, the county lawyer, and Smith, the previous sheriff who was changed in a 2020 election, declined to remark when reached by The Day by day Beast.

The present sheriff of Delta County, Charla Singleton, whose workplace can be named within the swimsuit, likewise didn’t reply to a request for remark.

Based on the lawsuit Taylor filed this month, in October 2019, whereas he was nonetheless in jail, Texas Division of Public Security Trooper Archie Crittenden discovered Williamson—who the swimsuit claims had been employed by the Delta County Sheriff’s Workplace in September 2019—didn’t have an lively Texas Fee on Regulation Enforcement (TCOLE) peace officer certification. This meant all of the arrests he’d made, together with Taylor’s, have been illegitimate and ought to be dismissed, Crittenden argued.

“I used to be extraordinarily involved that Officer Williamson was allowed by Delta County to proceed to arrest members of the general public and difficulty citations,” Crittenden wrote in a declaration as a part of the lawsuit.

The Crittenden declaration explains that he discovered concerning the lapsed certification as a result of he commonly works with native police departments, together with the Delta County Sheriff’s Workplace. He didn’t reply to a request for remark for this story.

The man has a whole lot of historical past. You’ll be able to say his identify and all people has one thing to say that he did.

Teena Dickinson

That November, Crittenden and Delta County magistrate Shannon McCulloch—who additionally grew to become conscious of Williamson’s lapsed certification and Taylor’s incarceration—introduced the problem to Murray, Garrett, and former Sheriff Smith to be resolved, Taylor’s swimsuit says.

However the lawsuit alleges all three officers “conspired collectively” to “cowl up” the negligent hiring of Williamson and his allegedly illegal arrests and citations of greater than 40 individuals—all of the whereas permitting Taylor to languish in custody and, later, a court-ordered rehab heart.

“Justice must be carried out for the entire manner all of them conspired in opposition to me figuring out they have been within the mistaken the entire time,” Taylor instructed The Day by day Beast. “That’s actually taking the regulation in your personal fingers. It’s not the Wild, Wild West anymore.”

Gretchen Grigsby, the director of presidency relations for the Texas Fee on Regulation Enforcement (TCOLE), the state regulatory company for all law-enforcement officers in Texas, offered a document of Williamson’s certification historical past that confirmed it was inactive between Sept. 1, 2019, and Nov. 6, 2019. Whereas The Day by day Beast couldn’t acquire police data in reference to Taylor’s arrest, a declaration from a magistrate clerk included within the swimsuit signifies it befell when Williamson was uncertified.

Throughout this era, Williamson was employed by the Delta County Sheriff’s Workplace and issued fines to residents as early as Oct. 3, 2019, in accordance with copies of citations obtained by The Day by day Beast. This even if Williamson’s official employment transcript reveals him beginning with the Delta County Sheriff’s Workplace on Nov. 8, 2019.

Grigsby mentioned Williamson’s inactive standing was as a result of him not finishing a coaching course on new federal legal guidelines earlier than getting employed. Based on TCOLE rules, Grigsby mentioned, the fee can advantageous law-enforcement businesses as much as $1,000 a day for using officers with out an lively certification, one thing she mentioned the fee has “pretty broad discretion” to find out.

Former Delta County Sheriff Ricky Smith and present Delta County Sheriff Charla Singleton

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She didn’t touch upon whether or not the Delta County Sheriff’s Workplace had ever been fined for Williamson’s lapsed certification or for the discrepancy in his official work historical past.

Not that Williamson caught round very lengthy: He left the Delta County Sheriff’s Workplace in February 2020, in accordance with TCOLE data, and joined the Bonham Police Division in Bonham, Texas, in March 2020.

The Bonham Police Division didn’t reply to a request for remark.

Jay Ellwanger, an lawyer who represented Taylor by way of his felony prices earlier than they have been dismissed and now represents Taylor in his lawsuit, instructed The Day by day Beast the alleged cover-up value individuals like Taylor their freedom and in addition shakes the muse of the justice system. “That’s not speculated to occur on this nation.”

…Garrett, the county lawyer, allegedly instructed Taylor, in reference to Williamson’s certification difficulty, that he was “fortunate to have such a superb lawyer, as a result of most attorneys in all probability wouldn’t have discovered it.”

Exterior consultants have been equally disturbed by the allegations.

Ture, the ex-Georgia cop and professor, instructed The Day by day Beast the case highlights a “main belief difficulty.”

He mentioned it might have been comparatively simple to vacate the arrest of Taylor, return any cash paid for citations issued by Williamson, and take possession of what he mentioned was a big, however not devastating, oversight by the Delta County Sheriff’s Workplace once they first employed Williamson.

The alleged choice to double down and preserve somebody like Taylor hanging within the steadiness creates greater complications, Ture argued.

Taylor’s lawsuit alleges that after Trooper Crittenden and magistrate McCulloch introduced up Williamson’s inactive certification within the fall of 2019, they have been ignored by the county lawyer, decide, and sheriff on the time.

McCulloch declined to remark intimately for this story, citing Taylor’s lawsuit. However she mentioned her courtroom follows “the regulation” and does their “due diligence” to “resolve any points that come by way of our workplace, lawfully, respectfully, and well timed with out bias.”

In a declaration as a part of the lawsuit, Ty Wady, a clerk in McCulloch’s workplace, mentioned that when she spoke to former Sheriff Smith about Williamson’s allegedly illegal arrests and citations, he instructed her to “ignore it” and “cover-up” the problem. She mentioned in her declaration that Smith positioned Williamson on desk obligation in November 2019 and altered his employment data to assist the alleged cover-up. All of the whereas, she continued, he was adamant about not dismissing any fines to individuals cited by Williamson or prices to these he arrested.

“Allow them to pay,” Wady mentioned Smith instructed her, including that open instances ought to solely be dismissed if anybody disputed them.

Based on the Wady declaration, McCulloch contacted County Prosecutor Garrett about Taylor’s detention in jail on Nov. 4, 2019. Wady mentioned Garrett justified Taylor’s arrest and in contrast it to a “citizen’s arrest,” and dismissed the considerations that Williamson was sporting a Delta County Sheriff’s Workplace uniform when he “tackled” Taylor throughout the allegedly “illegal arrest.”

On Nov. 5, 2019, the Wady declaration says, the magistrate Workplace went in opposition to the needs of the sheriff and prosecutor and dismissed all instances and citations made by Williamson that have been nonetheless open. It’s unclear, nevertheless, if the $6,700 in fines collected from residents have been ever returned.

However instances like Taylor’s, for which arrests had already been made, couldn’t be dismissed by their workplace, in accordance with Ellwanger.

Wady didn’t reply to a request for remark.

On the identical day the opposite instances have been dismissed, Taylor—who didn’t but have an lawyer—mentioned he was taken to a “particular courtroom date” the place he was instructed by Garrett that if he agreed to go to a court-ordered rehab for a yr, the prosecutor would “make all this go away,” referring to his case. Taylor mentioned the choice was offered to him as a deal.

“I used to be despatched off the identical day,” he mentioned.

Taylor mentioned he was on the rehab heart from November 2019 to February 2020. He misplaced his job and mentioned his spouse and 5 youngsters have been compelled to go away their residence: “It was a horrible expertise.”

Ellwanger mentioned that Delta County introduced again prices in opposition to Taylor as a result of he left the rehab heart earlier than the phrases of his earlier settlement. In April 2020, Ellwanger mentioned, he was retained by Taylor to get the costs formally dismissed.

It was throughout this course of that Ellwanger and Taylor mentioned they lastly discovered about Williamson’s lapsed certification and the truth that his entire ordeal might have been averted. Based on the swimsuit, on the listening to to dismiss Taylor’s prices in August, Garrett, the county lawyer, allegedly instructed Taylor, in reference to Williamson’s certification difficulty, that he was “fortunate to have such a superb lawyer, as a result of most attorneys in all probability wouldn’t have discovered it.”

“It took away from me, my household, and issues we might have gotten carried out and had,” Taylor instructed The Day by day Beast of his ordeal. “It’s simply not proper. It’s simply not proper in any respect.”

Earlier than his arrest in October 2019, Taylor mentioned, he’d by no means had any interactions with Williamson. However after studying extra concerning the officer, he realized he wasn’t the primary individual to be involved together with his type of policing.

In April 2018, Williamson, then a police officer with the Honey Grove Police Division, one other small operation in North Texas, shot John Earl Mackey in his driveway after trying a site visitors cease, the Herald Democrat reported on the time. Mackey was arrested and charged with aggravated assault on a public servant. The fees have been later dropped.

In a lawsuit he filed in opposition to Williamson in April 2020, Mackey mentioned Williamson adopted him residence, rolled down his window, and instructed Mackey to exit his automobile with out telling him why he was being stopped. “Get out of the automobile, you’re going to jail,” the cop allegedly mentioned.

Based on the swimsuit, when Mackey requested why he was pulled over, Williamson instructed him that Mackey had falsified tags. The swimsuit alleges Williamson then used a “racial slur” and held up the taser and requested Mackey if he knew what being tased felt like. After being tased, Mackey bought into his automobile and honked his horn for consideration, the swimsuit claims. In a subsequent battle with Williamson, the officer allegedly shot him within the leg.

Anyone that hops round, it’s impossible that I’m going to rent them.

Paul Robeson, Whitehouse Police Division Chief

The Metropolis of Honey Grove didn’t reply to a request for remark.

In a movement to dismiss Mackey’s swimsuit, town mentioned Mackey was a “giant man who refused officer instructions” and was “unaffected” by being tased. Additionally they claimed Mackey reached for Williamson’s gun throughout the encounter. “Out of self-defense and desperation” and “a number of warnings,” town argued, Williamson shot Mackey with a second, back-up pistol.

Courtroom data present the case was settled by November 2020. In December 2020, Mackey, 55, died from lung most cancers, his spouse Teena Dickinson, instructed The Day by day Beast.

Dickinson mentioned she witnessed elements of the battle between Mackey and Williamson the day he was shot. She additionally alleged Williamson referred to as Mackey the “n-word” many instances throughout the incident. After the taking pictures, Dickinson mentioned, she’d heard from others within the space about Williamson and his exploits in Honey Grove and different departments.

“The man has a whole lot of historical past,” she mentioned of Williamson. “You’ll be able to say his identify and all people has one thing to say that he did.”

Regardless of the accusations, when The Day by day Beast reached out to Williamson’s earlier law-enforcement employers, those that responded solely indicated that he’d resigned.

Leigh Dixon, the present police chief of the Honey Grove Police Division, mentioned Williamson was not being investigated for any misconduct on the time of his departure. However he did say Williamson’s file was marked as “ineligible for rehire.”

Paul Robeson, the Whitehouse Police Division Chief, mentioned he was not working within the division when Williamson was there from December 2008 to April 2010. He instructed The Day by day Beast he didn’t know something about Williamson, however that his historical past of leaping round departments for brief stints was a “crimson flag” which may give any employer pause.

“Anyone that hops round, it’s impossible that I’m going to rent them,” he mentioned. “Normally it’s an indication of non-public issues or one thing else occurring.”

For his half, Taylor mentioned he moved away from Delta County after his ordeal with Williamson and county officers.

He mentioned he’s bought a brand new job and has been capable of straighten out his life. However he nonetheless seems like nobody has been held accountable for what occurred to him. He’s additionally fearful about others who reside within the county.

“You have got a corrupt system over there,” he mentioned, “They’re simply doing no matter they wish to. They’re not going by the oath that they took.”



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