MARGATE (CBSMiami) — A longtime Margate police officer, asked to help out with a disruptive child, was suspended for the way he handled it.
Margate Police say surveillance images from Atlantic West Elementary School show School Resource Officer Vonley Williams carrying a child over his shoulder after a disciplinary encounter with the boy last February. And two days after that, these surveillance images show Williams holding the child by the collar of his shirt. The boy said he felt like he was being choked and that the officer put him in a head lock and threatened to handcuff him.
Internal Affairs investigators determined that Officer Williams, who has been with Margate PD since 2002 and has served as a school resource officer at Atlantic West Elementary School since 2014, violated department rules including use of force protocols.
A police report says the child told investigators that Officer Williams screamed at him.
“Officer Williams come in, right in my face screaming this is my place. ‘I make the rules!’” the child quoted Williams to investigators.
The police report said that at one point the child was sitting alone without incident for several minutes after a disturbance and that there was no justification for the transport technique the officer used.
“There appeared to be no precipitating factor or actions that were taken by (the child) that could have justified the subsequent transport technique that was used by Officer Williams,” the report says.
Officer Williams told investigators that the child was out of control and refused to follow his directions.
Police said Williams was removed from the school and a new school resource officer is in place.
At the school on Thursday, we spoke to parents about incidents. No one we spoke with was aware of what transpired. Rebeca Vera said it sounds like the police department handled the situation appropriately.
“Guessing that he’s not here I’m pretty sure they’ve dealt with it and they have somebody new and dismissed what they had to do,” Vera said.
Patrick Miles said he feels this should never have happened.
“No one condones that,” Miles said. “I mean someone else doing that to your child. What a parent does to their child at home is one thing, when it’s someone else, especially an officer? I mean what’s going on with police these days.”
This police department says the Broward State Attorney’s Office reviewed the case and determined that no charges will be filed against the officer.
A spokesperson with the Fraternal Order of Police, John Puleo, which represents Williams, told CBS 4 News that there was no intent on Williams’ part to use force on the child and that he only carried the boy like a father would carry his child.
Margate Police say Williams will also undergo 40 hours of training and won’t return as a school resource officer.