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Suspended officer fired, then arrested

Pedro Williams has been charged with two felonies. He was suspended on Jan. 31 for an unrelated matter in which he also has been charged.

By ALEX LEARY

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 16, 2001


CRYSTAL RIVER -- Officer Pedro Williams, who was serving a 30-day suspension for using a police department cell phone for personal use, was arrested Thursday on a variety of charges, including aggravated assault and child abuse.

Williams was fired by Chief James Farley shortly before his arrest and was taken to Citrus County jail, where he was being held on $12,250 bail.

Few details were released, but Detective Corey Sharpe said the arrest stemmed from a December dispute involving Williams' former wife.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigated the incident and turned its case over to the state attorney's office.

Williams, 30, was charged with aggravated assault and child abuse, both felonies, and reckless driving, said Lisa Herndon, supervisor of the state attorney's office in Citrus County.

According to an incident report, Williams had allegedly tried to stop his former wife and their children from leaving his Dunnellon home. He had wanted the children to stay longer so they could receive presents from a relative, the report said.

Williams, the report said, followed his former wife in his vehicle at high speeds. "She stated that when she refused to stop, (patrolman) Williams went around her and cut her off and tried to run her off the road."

Williams managed to cut her off and then allegedly pounded on the car and tried to open a door, the report said. His ex-wife drove off again but Williams caught up with her, the report said. The vehicles were eventually stopped by Citrus County Sheriff's deputies.

In a separate matter involving the cell phone, Williams also was charged with grand theft on Thursday.

He allegedly used the phone, which was donated for a neighborhood watch program, to make more than 200 personal calls at a cost of $435. He was suspended without pay for 30 days on Jan. 31.

The arrest came at a delicate time for Williams. He was fired in March after being suspected of driving while intoxicated but took his case of unfair termination to the West Central Florida Police Benevolent Association and won his job back.

At the time, Farley said he believed the department lost because it could not prove its case. Williams was never subjected to field sobriety or blood-alcohol tests.

The March firing followed Williams' fourth drinking-related suspension.

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