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Birmingham interim police chief resigns amid child abuse claims


Birmingham interim police chief resigns amid child abuse claims

Orlando Wilson’s resignation comes days after report of child abuse.

Orlando Wilson photo courtesy of the Birmingham Police Department.

Birmingham Interim Police Chief Orlando Wilson has resigned following allegations of sexually abusing a minor.

Mayor Randall Woodfin’s office announced that Wilson, 55, would be “transitioning out of the role” Wednesday afternoon “in order to have a medical procedure.”

But the Trussville Tribune reported Thursday morning that Wilson had been the subject of a March 20 police report alleging sexual abuse of a child under 12 years old. The report, which listed Wilson’s home address, was filed in Trussville, where he lives.

Earlier this month, the mother of Wilson’s two children filed a request for protection against him, citing sexual abuse of a young girl and physical abuse of a young boy — two separate incidents which allegedly occurred in 2013 and 2017.

No criminal charges have been filed against Wilson, and reports that the protection from abuse order has not been signed by a judge. Two other judges have recused themselves from the case due to their associations with the Birmingham Police Department.

The mayor’s office did not immediately provide comment on the case, instead pointing reporters to a statement provided to the media by Wilson’s attorney, Jacquelyn Smoke.

That statement denies that the allegations had anything to do with his leaving the position. Instead, Smoke says that he is scheduled for surgery on Friday, a procedure he had postponed due to his obligations as chief.

“The transition has nothing to do with a petition for protection from abuse containing false allegations of abuse that he had no knowledge existed,” the statement says.

Wilson had served in the Birmingham Police Department for 30 years before retiring in 2017. He returned to the department in February to serve as interim chief following A.C. Roper’s departure from the position in February, shortly after Woodfin took office. In an April 17 press release, Woodfin announced he had narrowed the search for Roper’s replacement down to three candidates, who would meet with him for individual interviews from April 23-25. The identities of those candidates has not yet been revealed.

Deputy Chief Henry Irby will take over day-to-day operations of the police department.

This story is developing.

Updated 4/19/18 12:48 p.m. to include statements from the mayor’s office and Wilson’s attorney. 

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Sam Prickett

Sam Prickett is a freelance journalist located in Birmingham, Alabama. He has also written for BirminghamWatch, Weld: Birmingham's Newspaper, This Is Alabama, Over the Mountain Journal, and the Birmingham Times.

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