Williamstown Police Chief Resigns
Police Chief Kyle Johnson has resigned his post, according to an announcement made at Monday night’s remote Select Board meeting. The Berkshire Eagle reports that Johnson’s last day was Monday.
Town Manager Jason Hoch announced the departure, who, along with Johnson and the town, is a named defendant in a federal discrimination lawsuit brought by Sgt. Scott McGowan.
That lawsuit, which came to light in August, raised allegations of sexual misconduct and racist behaviors in the WPD that touched off months of protest in the North Berkshire community.
Lt. Michael Ziemba will serve as interim chief until a search concludes. Officials hope to have a search for a permanent chief completed by late spring.
Johnson had been under heavy criticism from community members after some behaviors on his part came to light as part of a lawsuit this summer. The civil suit was filed by a department employee who alleged sexual and racial harassment in the workplace involving the chief and others.
The allegations raised a furor in the community, with calls for Johnson and Hoch, who oversees the chief, to be placed on administrative leave and for an independent investigation of the charges.
During Monday’s meeting, Hoch made a point to highlight Johnson’s service and dedication to the department and the town, and the forthrightness and honesty he has displayed during the past few months of turmoil.
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