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Former Orlando fire chief holds hope civil trial will clear his name after harassment allegations

By Dave McDaniel

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    ORLANDO, Florida (WESH) — Committed to clearing his name, a former Orlando Fire Chief had hoped a civil trial, which started last week, would end with a jury seeing things his way.

But that jury could not decide.

“I will not stop until my name is cleared and justice is served,” Roderick Williams said.

Williams resigned as Orlando Fire Chief in early 2019, saying he was forced out by an accusation he harassed a woman, who was an assistant chief at the time, by hugging and pressing his body against hers.

This is something Williams denies.

“Absolutely not, nor would I. I’m the father of three girls, I pride myself on protecting and serving,” Williams said.

Williams has filed a civil complaint, saying he’s been defamed by his former co-worker and he’s still dealing with harm to his reputation.

“Fight for my name, fight for what’s right and clear my name. It’s been hell on Earth, I can honestly say it like that, trying to put the pieces back together of my life,” Williams said.

The woman has also filed a civil claim against Williams, saying she was battered while on the job.

The cases were tried together last week into this week. The jury failed to come to a final answer.

The judge declared a mistrial and it’s expected everyone will go back to court in late May.

“We have to continue to push for the truth, that’s what we’re doing with the next court date,” Williams said.

His accuser retired while he says he was forced to resign. He’s not working, living off his retirement savings and helping raise his kids.

“Going back to court again, will give me an opportunity again to clear my name,” Williams said.

No criminal charges were ever filed. WESH 2 reached out to the woman’s attorney and is waiting to hear back.

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