Correction: Earlier versions of this article incorrectly said that Shawn Williams worked as a corporate lawyer for Sprint. The company says that Williams resigned his position in mid-August. The article has been corrected.
Loudoun County Supervisor Shawn M. Williams (R-Broad Run) resigned Sunday, the same day he was charged with assaulting a neighbor in the latest in a string of legal run-ins for the politician.
Williams, 44, was arrested after police said he pushed his way into a neighbor’s home about 1 a.m. He was charged with simple assault and unlawful entry, both misdemeanors.
“Mr. Williams submitted his resignation to Chairman Scott York this afternoon,” a statement from the county said.
York said Williams resigned via text message.
“He just said in his text to me, ‘You have my resignation,’ ” York (R) said.
Police said Williams forced his way into the home, in the 21800 block of Wingfoot Court in Ashburn, and pushed the victim during a dispute. Kraig Troxell, a spokesman for the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office, said it was unclear whether Williams knew the victim or what led to the dispute.
Williams was taken to the Loudoun County Adult Detention Center after the arrest and released Sunday afternoon, Troxell said. A woman who answered the door at Williams’s home Sunday declined to comment.
York, who is running for reelection as an independent and appointed Williams to work on his campaign, said the former supervisor has been removed from the position. When asked about the incident, York said, “I don’t know why and how he got to the point that whatever happened, happened — and that’s not my place to do so.”
Williams, who withdrew from this year’s race for board chairman after admitting a history of drunken driving and domestic disputes, was accused in one of those cases of brutally attacking his then-girlfriend.
According to the 2006 police report, Williams, who is 6-2 and weighs 200 pounds, beat the woman in the face and torso and slammed her into a set of closet doors. He also threatened to throw her from a condominium balcony before she managed to flee into the street, dressed in her night clothes. Williams, according to the victim cited in the report, “had been drinking earlier in the evening.”
The woman later dropped the charges. But Williams, who was elected to the board in 2011, was forced to account for the incident earlier this year, when it was revealed during his short-lived candidacy for the county chairman’s seat.
“This was an extremely low point in my life full of grief, anger and binge blackout drinking,” Williams said in a statement in March. “As a result of this incident I sought out and received treatment for alcohol abuse and symptoms related to a personality disorder.”
Williams said he underwent therapy for anger management after the incident and met his wife, Joy, about a year later. His profile for the Board of Supervisors says they have three children. Police also visited Williams’s home twice in 2013 for alleged domestic disputes and once for a dispute with a neighbor. It was unclear if Sunday’s alleged incident involved the same neighbor.
In a statement earlier Sunday, calling on Williams to resign, York made reference to Sunday’s arrest being alcohol related. No alcohol-related charges have been filed, Troxell said.
Williams has been arrested on previous occasions on allegations of drunken driving. According to public records, he has been charged with criminal offenses at least nine times since 2001.
At a Wednesday board meeting, Williams was active in discussions over a mixed-use project he had worked on for the past three years, said Supervisor Matt Letourneau (R-Dulles). Letourneau said the project was later approved.
“Sad is the first feeling that comes to mind about the whole situation,” Supervisor Matt Letourneau (R-Dulles) said Sunday. “He was a productive member of the board, he was a strong contributor. He had some incidents in the past, but there had been no indications that behavior had continued.”
Another supervisor expressed relief.
“This has gone on too long,” said Supervisor Ken Reid (R-Leesburg). “Striking somebody or threatening somebody is uncalled for.”
Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio (R- Sterling) said, “It was good that he resigned and I hope he seeks treatment for his problems. I also pray for his wife and beautiful children.”
Residents of the district Williams had represented expressed mixed emotions about his resignation.
“It’s embarrassing,” said Morena Alvarado, who has lived in the community for 17 years. “He is representing. He should have known better.”
Bernadette Harlow said she was neither embarrassed nor surprised.
“My impression was that he was doing a good job,” said Harlow, who has lived in Broadlands for 12 years. But, she added, “Politicians misbehave all the time.”
Resident Denise Chavers cited Williams’s past run-ins with the law, saying, “I probably expected it.”
As of July, Williams had served as the treasurer for York’s campaign. York said then that he did not believe Williams’s past would hinder his ability to serve in the position and that he was still respected in Loudoun. “Everyone makes mistakes,” York told The Washington Post in July.
Williams had worked as a corporate lawyer for Sprint, but resigned in mid-August, a spokesperson for the company said.
In its statement Sunday, the county said that York and other members of the board would work as quickly as possible to identify a process for naming a replacement. Under Virginia law, the remaining members of the Board of Supervisors may appoint a replacement within 45 days of the vacancy. Although an appointed board member typically serves until a special election can be held, that won’t happen in this case because the general election occurs within 60 days of the end of the term to be filled.
If the board makes an appointment to fill the remainder of Williams’s term in 2015, the statement said, no special election is required and the appointed board member may serve until the person elected in the general election as the supervisor for the Broad Run district takes office Jan. 1.
“We can appoint someone,” said Supervisor Janet Clarke (R-Blue Ridge), “but I don’t think it would be the end of the world if we leave the position open for the next four months.”
“My heart goes out to his family, and I hope he does seek help for his issues,” she said.