Days after admitting he created an anonymous social media account to respond to a critic, then lied about it, Burlington Police Chief Brandon del Pozo has resigned, said Mayor Miro Weinberger.
Weinberger announced del Pozo’s resignation at a press conference Monday at police headquarters. He said the chief informed him of his plans Sunday, and that he did not ask del Pozo to step down.
Late last week, del Pozo admitted he had created the account @WinkleWatchers to respond to local activist Charles Winkleman, a frequent critic of the department and del Pozo.
Del Pozo told reporters Friday that he said he realized within minutes of the tweets that it was wrong and deleted them. A short time later, del Pozo informed Weinberger of the account and the tweets. He also told the mayor that he lied to a Seven days reporter who asked about the @WinkleWatchers account.
Weinberger took the chief’s gun, badge and personal cell phone, and del Pozo took six weeks of leave to seek mental health treatment.
The mayor defended the lack of transparency around del Pozio’s actions Monday, saying the chief deserved the same privacy considerations as any other city employee who takes leave to deal with a health issue.
On his blog, Winkleman wrote, “There are serious problems within the Burlington Police Department, and they come directly from its leadership.
“Chief del Pozo’s social media presence highlights these issues. Del Pozo’s social media is meant to bully and silence critics, whether it be private citizens or oversight groups like Copwatch, all while promoting himself.”
Earlier Monday, Burlington Progressives called for del Pozo to resign and for Weinberger to be held accountable for “a lack of transparency with the community.”
“It is never acceptable for the leadership in our city to bully or troll a member of the public or to lie to the press,” the party said in a statement. “We are also extremely concerned by the lack of the Mayor’s engagement with the Police Commission and City Council on this issue. … “
Wienberger accused the party of “piling on” with its demand for the resignation, saying he informed Progerssive leaders Sunday of del Pozo’s decision to step down.
This is a developing story.