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Fired FL Chief Defends Decision to Skip Fallen Officer's Funeral

Fired FL Chief Defends Decision to Skip Fallen Officer's Funeral

[Press Conference Video Capture]

Tampa Bay Tribune via YellowBrix

March 07, 2011

ST. PETERSBURG — Goliath Davis III, whose rise to the top of his hometown Police Department and City Hall made him the city’s most influential African-American official, was fired by Mayor Bill Foster this week.

Davis said the mayor wanted him out because he did not attend Tuesday’s funeral for the third officer killed in the city in 28 days. Yet the former police chief did go to the funeral of the convict who killed the first two officers.

Foster said he “lost confidence” in Davis to perform his duties as senior administrator of community enrichment. Davis ignoring Foster’s order to attend Officer David S. Crawford’s funeral was “a straw,” he said.

Davis, who admits he has always been a “lightning rod,” said he went to the convict’s funeral to support his family — not the killer. He acknowledged ignoring the mayor’s recent request, saying he paid his respects to the families at the officers’ wakes.

It wasn’t until a Friday news conference — after weeks of media scrutiny and pointed criticism — that Davis offered his first public explanation for missing the funerals:

Attending would have reminded Davis too much of his good friend, the last officer to die in the line of duty 30 years ago: Detective Herbert R. Sullivan.

“I can tell you all that when the two officers were killed, for me it was three,” Davis said. "Because not only did I have to deal with two deaths, I had to deal with the death of Herbert Ray Sullivan.

“Then when Crawford was killed, for me, it wasn’t three deaths. It was four.”

Foster fired Davis on Wednesday, Davis’ 60th birthday, but it didn’t come out until Friday.

During the news conference, as Davis announced the end of his 37 years in public service, he seemed at times like a reverend preaching to a loyal congregation. More than 150 people packed the Enoch Davis Center to hear his farewell, punctuating Davis’ words with applause and shouts of approval.

Then after the cameras left, after he was done shaking hands and posing for pictures, Davis revealed the compromise he asked city Administrator Tish Elston to deliver to the mayor:

Let him stay on three months to finish one last project, then he’ll announce his retirement and leave City Hall quietly.

Davis said Elston delivered Foster’s answer:

“He wants you out by the close of business Friday.”

• • •

Foster and Davis were always an unlikely pair.

They butted heads back when Foster was on the City Council and Davis was police chief.

There was that memorable council workshop in 2000, when Foster supported a review of the Police Department and Davis’ managerial style. Davis said the force didn’t need another review and questioned Foster’s motives.

“It doesn’t have to be personal,” Foster said, according to a St. Petersburg Times account.

“Don’t insult me,” replied Davis. “That’s all I’m saying. . . .”

Foster made a sarcastic comment as Davis left the room.

“Don’t say nothin’ to me, councilman,” Davis said. “Nothin’.”

During the 2009 mayoral campaign, Foster talked about how the city didn’t need three deputy mayors, but kept Davis anyway.

Davis became Foster’s senior administrator of community enrichment, paid $152,735 annually to oversee Midtown, the business assistance center and community development.

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  • P1010058_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Maybe when he dies then the family of the person's funeral that he went to can come to his and the rest of the department and staff can stay at work or take a day off but not go. You never leave a fellow officer's family alone. NEVER

  • Georgia_washington_jhs_exercise_016_max50


    over 3 years ago



  • Car_004_max50


    over 3 years ago


    To treat our fallen Brothers and their families with such disrespect, and to attend the killers funeral........Let's just say, if I had been drinking beer all day and had a sudden pressure from my bladder, I was standing next to him and he burst into flames, I would go find the line for the port-a-jon.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago


    Folks!! To put Mr. Davis on the defensive ask him if it were three black cops and a white chief went to the suspect's funeral who he be just as outraged at the chief as the officers are at him?

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago


    There is something wrong with a person who will go to the funeral of a killer and ignore the funeral of a fellow Officer. This man is sick, that's for sure!

  • 1410_max50


    over 3 years ago


    The actions by this FORMER CHIEF PISSED ME OFF. Good job mayor in firing him. No other entity should ever hired this fool again. I feel my brothers in blue down there who had to see there boss GO TO THE FUNERAL OF THE KILLER, but NOT TO THE FALLEN OFFICER'S FUNERAL. The damn nerve of him. But he is gone now and I hope HE NEVER RESURFACES in law enforcement ever again.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago

    Being in high command most definately DOES NOT mean a person was blessed with class or intelligence,both of which this freak is missing.I worked a major dept. where one of the Deputy Chiefs constantly skipped(yes skipped) through the building whistling,ala,a six year old.

  • Dscf2012_max50


    over 3 years ago


    As Chief, or any other city official, there is NO excuse to not go to a fellow LEO's funeral. NONE what so ever.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago


    This "Chief" was "suppose" to be the leader of this department - how could any of the officers respect or follow him after him not having enough respect to attend every officer's funeral. Sure I hate going to officers funerals - I attended two in less then a month of friends of mine and God forbid if there would have been a third I would have been at that one also. Go away Davis you are not a leader of LEO

  • Angel_kincaid_park_2014_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Bump Retleo! Amen..

  • Angel_kincaid_park_2014_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Bump tluttre119! Amen!

  • Screen_shot_2011-04-10_at_8


    over 3 years ago


    This article is bringing up a lot of good opinions and comments. I have to agree with the ones who say that it was his JOB to be present for the families of the fallen officers. He was their Chief. Not attending the officer's funerals is low, but to then go to the funeral of the person who killed the officers is unacceptable. I think they got it right this time. It is very unfortunate that this person brought more negative light to the deaths of these officers. This was supposed to be a time to mourn, remember, honor, and come together for the officers who paid the ultimate sacrifice. Very sad.

  • Me11_max50


    over 3 years ago


    The mayor did right firing him, he has no excuse for not going to the officers funeral and then going to the perps funeral; now thats low, low down snake.

  • 026_max50


    over 3 years ago


    No excuse at all for his actions.

  • Daddy_in_uniform_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Typical 2 faced Police Chief. I don't know that I've ever met one that wasn't as full of sh!$ as a defense attorney.

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