Teamsters nemesis: Daytona Beach Police Chief Michael Chitwood would have defused Ferguson situation early on

Bob Walker / Headline Surfer®Ferguson liquor store burned & looted / Headline Surfer®Photos for Headline Surfer® /
Bob Walker, Business agent for the local Teamsters 385, (Headline Surfer® image shown in the inset) and a longtime critic of Daytona Beach Police Chief Michael Chitwood, believes the acerbic top cop could have handled the situation in Ferguson, MO, and maybe even have headed off the looting as shown in this snapshot of a liquor store vandalized by looters.
 

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Retired homicide cop Bob Walker has never really gotten along with temperamental Daytona Beach Police Chief Michael Chitwood.

Walker, Teamsters 385 business agent, had actually returned to the DBPD several years back to help out with homicide cold cases, but was it wasn't long before he banned from the cop shop by Chitwood with the exception of his union rep. duties.

But Walker, a thorn in Chitwood's side, especially in the last couple of years, sai he believes Daytona's top cop and little debate the most vocal poloice chief in Florida, actually would have been a good fit in Ferguson, MO, where looting and burning occurred in the overnight hours of the Nov. 24 announcement that a grand jury had opted not to indict a white police officer, Darren Wilson, in the fatal shooting of unarmed African-American teenager Michael Brown.

Name calling hallmark of Daytona Police Chief / Headline SurferDaytona top cop Michael Chitwood / Headline Sutfer®Photos for Headline Surfer® / Daytona Beach Police Chief Michael Chitwood's name-calling act is popular with citizens who are fearful of crime in a city tht has plenty of it, but resented by others who feel he labels and stereotypes people. The 'Scumbag Eradication Team' is something he got from his father of the same name, who is chief of police in Darby, Penn.

The fatal confrontation occurred back in in August shortly after a reported strong-arm robbery by Brown involving the theft of cigars. 

Wilson resigned Saturday and Ferguson's mayor subsequently announced there would be no severance. The National Guard was called in the following day after angry protestors had already done most of the burning and looting that was carried live on cable news networks around the world.

Walker said things might have been different, had Chitwood, the fiery police chief known for calling those running afoul of the law "scumbags" and often seen pedaling a police bike with gun belt affixed to dark shorts and a grey shirt, had been in charge of the Ferguson municipal police force, roughly a quarter the size of Daytona's.

"This is not to criticize the officials in Ferguson," Walker told Headline Surfer® over the weekend, adding, "I'm sure they did the best they could with the knowledge they had at hand, but a big part of me believes a more aggressive approach was needed early on before this thing was allowed to morph into the situation it has now become.

Bob Walker, Teamsters 385 Business agent / Headline Surfer®Bob Walker, a retired Daytona Beach homicide detective, former acting chief of the since shuttered Oak Hill police force and Teamsters 385 business agent, said Daytona Beach Police Chief Michael Chitwood's fiery-brand of leadership would have been a good fit for dealing with community pushback in Fergusomn, MO. shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white cop.

"This is not to criticize the officials in Ferguson," Walker told Headline Surfer® over the weekend, adding, "I'm sure they did the best they could with the knowledge they had at hand, but a big part of me believes a more aggressive approach was needed early on before this thing was allowed to morph into the situation it has now become.

Walker continued, "If social media was inflaming this thing, Chitwood would've been dumping water on it right away."

As for how Chitwood would have dealt with the looting, Walker said "We'll never know, but I'm sure he would have defused it before it got started." Because Chitwood is such a master at manipulating and playing to the TV cameras, Walker was adamant Chitwood would have found a way to quell the violence.

Cop car on fire in Ferguson, MO / Headline Surfer®This KDSK TV screen shot shows a Ferguson cop running by a Ferguson squad car on fire. Bob Walker, business agent for Orlando, Fla.-based Teamsters 385, said he believes had Daytona Beach Police Chief Michael Chitwood had been in charge of the Ferguson police force, such destruction might have been headed off much earlier by Chitwood's manipulstion of the media to push his tough-talking agenda.
 

"When you overwhelm folks with facts early on - it's hard for the bad guys to get momentum," Walker explained. "This thing was allowed time to gain momentum."

An email sent by Headline Surfer to Chitwood for comment on Walker's surprising praise went unanswered.

Chitwood hasn't responded to Headline Surfer® since 2012. That's when the award-winning 24/7internet newspaper received two awards from the Florida Press Club in 2012 for its investigative story on the police chief's promotion of a patrol supervisor to captain despite a thick internal affairs file alleging mistreatment of women cops under the command of James Newcomb.

Walker, business agent for Teamsters 385, the Orlando-based union that represent's Daytona's rank-and-file cops, assisted Headline Surfer® in the investigative story, published May 14. Here is a link:  

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Short Bio

Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via HeadlineSurfer.com since 2008. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most prolific daily news reporters, having amassed close to a hundred award-winning byline stories nearly evenly split in print and digital platforms. Frederick earned his Master of Arts in New Media Journalism with academic honors from Full Sail University in Winter Park in February 2019. He was a metro reporter with the Daytona Beach News-Journal for nearly a decade and then served as a city editor for the Taunton Daily Gazette in Taunton, Mass, while maintaining a residence in Central Florida. Prior to moving to Florida, Frederick was a metro reporter for the Rockland Journal-News in West Nyack, NY, for seven years. Headline Surfer was named the Sunshine State's top internet news site by the Florida Press Club in 2018.