Savannah Morning News: New report “blasts” former police chief

After the abrupt departure of Savannah-Chatham police chief Willie Lovett a couple of months ago, it became clear that some detailed investigations could reveal a variety of serious issues and additional allegation.

From this afternoon’s press release by the City of Savannah:

The City of Savannah today released a report (attached) prepared by investigative firm MDBI concerning activities of SCMPD Officers Malik Khaalis and Willet Williams, as well as the investigations by Internal Affairs’ into allegations against these officers. […]

“A small handful of individuals have eroded the public’s trust in the Police Department, and that trust will not be restored until we fully investigate all claims against our law enforcement personnel and take appropriate action,” said Savannah City Manager Stephanie Cutter. “I have said from the beginning that we leave no stone unturned in this process. I ask the public for their patience as we continue to follow this investigation where it leads.”

From the Savannah Morning News, UPDATE: Investigation blasts former Savannah-Chatham police chief Willie Lovett:

Former Savannah-Chatham police chief Willie Lovett’s conduct “was inadequate and unprofessional” and ignored available evidence in the case of two officers under investigation in a 2010 drug trafficking scheme, an independent investigation has found.

The report by Alexandria, Va.-based Manuel, Daniels, Burke International also found that Lovett “withheld vital information from Internal Affairs … and instructed Internal Affairs to prepare (an official document) with patently false and incorrect information.”

While no evidence of improper influence with the department’s Internal Affairs unit was found, the report said, “their handling of the entire case was negligent and unprofessional.”

From p. 28 of the report (linked below):

Chief Lovett’s performance in the Khaalis/Williams matter, whether by design or negligence, was inadequate and unprofessional. Despite the fact that he was given ample information both orally and in writing to make a reasoned disciplinary decision regarding these two men, he chose to consider only a single page surveillance log. He also withheld vital information from IA; truncated the standard procedure for handling IA reports; and instructed IA to prepare a LOT with patently false and incorrect information.

Here’s the full report if you want to delve into the details. The city just released the document less than two hours ago, so I haven’t had time to give it more than a cursory look:

Investigation of former Savannah-Chatham police chief Willie Lovett by

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