. Petersburg, Florida, a black former police chief and current high ranking city official was
, while he failed to attend the funerals of the two officers and of another officer who also was recently killed in the line of duty. Goliath Davis III tells the
that the reason he attended the cop killer’s funeral was not for the sake of the dead cop killer, “it was for his family, who Davis knew from the predominantly African-American south St. Petersburg neighborhoods where they lived.” And the reason he didn’t attend the funerals of the three slain officers?
The combination of his baroquely victimological explanation for not attending the officers’ funerals (being reminded of a funeral he attended 30 years ago would be too painful for him?), plus his classic/comic African-American misuse of English vocabulary, tells us all we need to know about Goliath Davis III.
The salary for the administrative job from which Davis was fired was $152,736, the highest of any official working for the city. I guess the reason he deserved such a high salary was that he has a doctorate in criminology. Perhaps it was when he was laboring on his doctorate, working his fingers to the bone, that he learned that a man should never do anything that will exacerbate his well-being.
Let us remember, by the way, that the mainstream “conservatives” not only do not oppose the massive bestowal of undeserved advantages and rewards upon blacks in our society, they celebrate blacks’ possession of such undeserved advantages and rewards as a victory for civil rights and a vindication of America’s ideal of colorblind (!) equality. They think that the growth of a black upper middle class and a black elite in recent decades is proof of America’s race-transcending greatness, whereas in reality it is, to a very significant extent, proof of the power of black racial privilege.
Goliath Davis III said he was told he was fired for skipping the funerals of three police officers who were shot to death in the past six weeks.
But Davis, a top city administrator and former St. Petersburg police chief, said he’s convinced it’s the service that he did attend, for police killer Hydra Lacy, that ultimately cost him his job.
“The real issue here is that I was at Lacy’s funeral,” Davis said at a news conference this afternoon, a few hours after Mayor Bill Foster announced in a news release he had fired Davis from his $152,736 a year job.
Foster said he had lost confidence in Davis, but emphasized budget shortfalls and organizational streamlining in announcing the dismissal. The division Davis heads will be eliminated and its duties spread to three others. More changes are coming, Foster said.
The mayor made no reference to the funerals.
But he did when he delivered the news in person to Davis, Davis said at his news conference.
Why did Davis attend the funeral of the fugitive who fatally shot Sgt. Thomas Baitinger and Officer Jeffrey Yaslowitz?
Certainly not for Lacy, Davis said. It was for his family, who Davis knew from the predominantly African-American south St. Petersburg neighborhoods where they lived.
“Those of us in uniform cross Central Avenue daily,” Davis said, referring to an informal boundary line for those neighborhoods.
“We don’t return to the south side as tourists. We live here. Because we live here, we know people who others deem criminals.”
He added, “The easy thing would have been to disavow the Lacy family.”
And why didn’t Davis attend the funeral for the two officers—or the more recent funeral of Officer David Crawford, who was shot to death by a teenage boy from south St. Petersburg?
The pomp and circumstance would have brought back memories too painful, Davis said: The last officer shot to death in St. Petersburg, 30 years ago, was Detective Herbert Sullivan, who ran track with Davis in school and attended the police academy with him.
They were the best of friends, Davis said. Davis was a pallbearer at Sullivan’s funeral. He could not bring himself to attend another.
“If I had done so, it would have exacerbated my physical and mental well-being,” Davis said.
He also noted that he attended the wakes for all three officers, saying that should have been enough for him to pay his respects.
In a brief interview at city hall after issuing the news release, Foster said, “We’re just going in a different new direction.”
He declined to elaborate.
City council member Bill Dudley said the funerals may have eroded the mayor’s already waning confidence in Davis, who was the city’s highest-paid staff member.
“The episode with the police officers may have been the last straw,” Dudley said. “If he’s going to be the best mayor he can be, he needs to surround himself with people he has confidence in.”
Davis was a key figure in the city’s response racial unrest in south St. Petersburg in late 1996, serving four years as the city’s first black police chief before retiring.
He was named to the position in the wake of two nights of rioting, one after the fatal shooting of a black teenager by a white officer and the other after a grand jury cleared the officer.
Davis, who uses the nickname “Go” and holds a doctorate in criminology from Florida State, was hired again in 2001 for a job now identified on the city payroll as “senior administrator/community enrichment administrator.”
Baitinger and Yaslowitz were fatally shot Jan. 24 as they tried to arrest Lacy, a fugitive who was hiding out in a south St. Petersburg home. Lacy died in the hail of police gunfire that followed.
Davis attended Lacy’s funeral Jan. 29 but not the officers’ funeral the day before, which had drawn a crowd of thousands of community members, law enforcement officers and public officials.
Davis also wasn’t seen at the funeral Feb. 21 of Officer Crawford, shot to death while investigating a prowling call.
Two members of the city council, Wengay Newton and Leslie Curran, said the mayor’s announcement Friday took them by surprise.
“The mayor does his own thing,” Newton said.
Curran criticized the firing, saying Mayor Foster “is still grasping to justify” the firing.
She said she has a great deal of confidence in Davis as an administrator, suggesting others beside him need to be fired.
“He was one of the few effective administrators in city government,” Curran said. “If you wanted to get something done in city government, he was the one to go to.”
About 25 business, faith and neighborhood leaders in St. Petersburg’s African-American community attended a hastily called meeting Friday to consider a response to Davis’ firing.
The Rev. Manuel Sykes, pastor of the church, said the group hopes to arrange a meeting with Foster soon.
State Rep. Darryl Rouson, a St. Petersburg Democrat who also attended, said he spoke this morning with both Mayor Foster and Davis, whom he called a friend and ally.
Foster told Rouson “this was not a snap decision and he’s been praying over this for some time,” Rouson said.
The mayor also told him “he was not swayed by any recent event.”
Rouson said he’s concerned now for black leadership in city government.
“I don’t want to see a bleached city hall,” he said.
The concern was echoed by the Rev. Gustave Victor, who also attended the meeting of black community leaders.
“Go always had a chance to give his opinion on anything in city hall,” Victor said. “Now we have no one.”
Blacks make up 27 percent of the city’s staff compared with 23 percent of the city’s population, according to October payroll records and the latest census data.
But blacks account for only eight of the 54 city staffers making six figures, 15 percent of the total.
The highest paid black employee now is Clarence Scott III, leisure and community services administrator, who makes $125,902.
Davis has been receiving a city pension since his retirement as police chief. Since he was rehired as an administrator 10 years ago, the city has been paying 11 percent of his salary into another retirement fund.
Davis salary of $152,736 a year is down from $156,544 in 2008. He is paid the same salary as City Administrator Patricia Elston. Only Foster is paid more, at $158,355.
Davis became a campaign issue in 2009 during Foster’s bid for the mayor’s seat against opponent Kathleen Ford. Ford, who sparred with Davis when she served on the city council, said she would consider firing him to trim costs.
Foster said then he would not fire Davis, noting Davis’ contributions to the city and his strong ties to the University of South Florida’s St. Petersburg campus. Foster did say Davis would not continue as a deputy mayor and his salary would be negotiated.
An estimated 200 people attended Davis press conference, many of them applauding as he explained his actions. A long line formed afterward as people shook his hand and hugged him.
Davis said he knew his job was in danger this week when Foster approached him and asked whether he wanted to take vacation.
Davis asked the mayor if he was being fired.
“It turned out I was,” he said.
He offered in vain to transition out quietly, he said, after completing some projects.
He said he holds no ill will toward Foster.
[end of article]
Paul K. writes:
Leonard K. writes: