Mayor: Allegations against TPD chief to be investigated
TPD Chief Michael DeLeo has not responded to allegation by County Commissioner Bill Proctor that his department lacks diversity.
Photos by St. Clair Murraine
By St. Clair Murraine
Outlook staff writer
Mayor John Dailey assured County Commissioner Bill Proctor that allegations of discrimination against Black officers by Tallahassee Police Chief Michael DeLeo will be investigated.
Proctor released a statement calling for suspension of DeLeo until an investigation of the claim is completed. Copies of Proctor’s statement and a lengthy list of allegations against DeLeo signed only as being from a “concerned employee for a diverse TPD” was hand-delivered by Proctor to Dailey during a town hall meeting, where the mayor was a panelist.
Copies of the anonymous letter were also sent to the Tallahassee Human Rights Relations Council.
“We might get to the end of this investigation and decide that changes need to be made,” Dailey said. “We might get to the end of this investigation and realize that it was an anonymous complaint that holds no value inside the police department or any department within the city of Tallahassee.
“But I do believe in due process and I believe we need to look fully into the complaint, which our staff is doing. When they are done, we will abide by the law and move forward with the decision.”
In a press release by Proctor last week, he said DeLeo “has an open disdain for people of color.” He also called for the investigation to be done by an outside legal counsel.
Among the claims in the anonymous letter was denial of promotion by Black officers.
“During the last promotion test for the position of lieutenant, all of the Black candidates were automatically disqualified based on a written exercise,” the letter said. “The candidates challenged the process and were found to have actually passed the process.
“They were placed on the eligibility list but were not given an opportunity to proceed to the next level of the process.”
DeLeo has not issued a response to the allegations.
In his statement, Proctor wrote: “DeLeo paints all people of color as untrustworthy, incompetent, and incapable of serving TPD and the citizens of Tallahassee. His personal idiosyncrasies are evident in the makeup of TPD.”
Proctor also cited two votes of no confidence against DeLeo by the Big Bend Police Benevolent Association. Immediately after Proctor disclosed the claim against the chief, the association called for an investigation in the anonymous letter.
However, a day later Big Bend PBA walked back its President Steven Slade’s stance. Slade later said in a statement that he stands by his original position.
“The rank and file of law enforcement agencies are investigated daily on allegations from citizens whether anonymous or in person throughout the State of Florida,” Slade said. “Management regardless of rank should be held to the same scrutiny.”