Post last updated at 4:25 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 5:
A former Lawrence police officer’s certification has been revoked after an investigation found that he acted in poor moral character and disproportionately arrested young women.
Brad Williams worked for the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office from March 7, 2011 until May 9, 2017, then went to work for the Lawrence Police Department less than a week later.
He resigned from LPD on Jan. 6, 2021 — the day after his second interview with internal affairs amid an ongoing investigation. But Williams said he quit because another former officer had been recruiting him for a few months to sell insurance.
Despite numerous complaints and red flags, it wasn’t until last year that Williams’ peace officer certification was challenged. He contested the Kansas Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training’s push to revoke his certification during a hearing in August.
On Thursday, KSCPOST published the order revoking his certification, dated Dec. 1, 2022.
“Based upon the totality of the evidence, the Commission concludes that there is clear and convincing evidence to show Williams has failed to maintain the requirements for certification as a law enforcement officer, specifically the requirement in K.S.A. 74-5605(b)(5) of ‘good moral character sufficient to warrant the public trust’ thereby violating K.S.A. 74-5616(b)(1),” the order states. “The Commission further concludes that there is clear and convincing evidence to show Williams used racial or other biased-based policing prohibited by K.S.A. 22-4609, and amendments thereto in violation of K.S.A. 74-5616(b)(6).”
As we’ve reported, according to testimony in Williams’ case before KSCPOST, Anthony Brixius, who was then interim chief of the Lawrence Police Department, received a complaint in late August 2020 from Jay Armbrister, now Douglas County sheriff. Brixius asked Lt. Mark Unruh, who had recently been assigned to the Office of Professional Accountability, to begin an internal investigation.
The complaint was regarding concerns that Williams was targeting college-age women in his car stops and alcohol enforcement.
Unruh testified that he found that from the time Williams’ employment with LPD began on May 15, 2017, through Sept. 14, 2020:
• Williams had arrested 83 men and 147 women for allegedly operating under the influence (36% and 64%, respectively). Of the 147 women, 91 were between the ages of 18 and 25 — that’s 39.6% of Williams’ total OUI arrests.
• Williams had issued citations for minors allegedly in possession of alcohol to one man and 84 women (1.1% and 98.8%, respectively).
That wasn’t the first time supervisors had concerns about who Williams was stopping and arresting.
Back in 2016, his supervisors at the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office noticed a pattern and looked at the numbers. They found that of Williams’ probable cause arrests at his own discretion — for instance, arrests that were not picking someone up on a warrant, or booking someone into jail after they were sentenced in court — he was arresting 55% women and 45% men. National and Douglas County averages are about 74% men and 26% women, according to testimony and jail records. However, at the time, DGSO supervisors did not think the difference appeared to be “totally egregious.”
Of those arrests from 2014 through 2020, 24.9% were of women ages 18 to 25; another 24% were of women ages 26 and up; and 51% were of men.
Broken down, Douglas County jail records for all other law enforcement officers’ bookings from 2014 through 2020 show that about 10.5% of people booked into the jail in probable cause arrests are women ages 18 to 25, and 16.1% women ages 26 and up.
Beyond the numbers, testimony during the Aug. 4 hearing before a panel of KSCPOST commissioners questioned Williams’ motives and integrity. His reputation was so well known among local exotic dancers that his supervisor’s name and phone number were scrawled on the wall of a women’s bathroom stall in one club, according to testimony.
“Williams’ conduct show he lacks the personality quality of integrity, that he engaged in conduct that violated public trust and failed to uphold the oath required for certification and to uphold the laws of the state,” the KSCPOST revocation order states.
He also made headlines after he allegedly used excessive force in arresting a Lawrence skateboarder, whose attorney later raised evidence that drew the officer’s credibility into question. (A related civil rights lawsuit is ongoing in federal court.) However, the attorney for KSCPOST did not present evidence regarding that case during the hearing.
Read more about the Aug. 4 hearing at this link.
When we reached out seeking comment for this article, Laura McCabe, a spokesperson for the Lawrence Police Department, responded via email, “Thanks for the opportunity, but we appropriately turned the investigation over a long time ago, trust the process, and would direct you to KS-CPOST.”
We have also reached out to Williams and James Jarrow, his father-in-law and attorney who represented him for the KSCPOST hearing, seeking comment for this article.
Below is the full order of revocation:bwilliams
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Mackenzie Clark (she/her), reporter/founder of The Lawrence Times, can be reached at mclark (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com. Read more of her work for the Times here. Check out her staff bio here.
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