On Feb. 29, Orange police announced the arrest of public works employee William Hathaway, charging him with two counts of making terroristic threats against Orange Mayor Eldridge Hawkins, Jr. and another city employee
The arrest came after a YouTube video of Hathaway was posted online, with audio of his voice making profane, racially charged, and threatening remarks against the mayor. Included in the comments was a threat to shoot Hawkins in front of his mother and father.
Statement by Orange Police Director John Rappaport
“An employee of the Orange Public Works Department was arrested yesterday (Feb. 28) for threatening the life of Mayor Eldridge Hawkins, Jr. William Hathaway, 41, is accused of stating, “F… the mayor, I will kill him and shoot him in the head in front of his mother.” Hathaway is also accused of threatening another city employee, stating, “I am going to have you killed.” He referred to the mayor in racial terms that I am uncomfortable repeating, but the Essex County Prosecutor is investigating the incident as a bias crime.
“On February 24th, the Public Works Department had received a complaint of work place harassment alleging racial slurs, voter intimidation, and death threats made by other employees including a high ranking union member. The Director of Public Works forwarded the complaint to the Orange Police Department for review.
“Investigation revealed credible death threats against Mayor Hawkins and another city worker by William Hathaway, a disgruntled employee. Some of the threats were captured on audio tape. Hathaway was taken into custody and charged with two counts of terroristic threats in violation of N.J.S. 2C: 12-3B. He was released on bail later last night. Collateral investigations are still pending into the involvement of other individuals related to carrying out the death threat and/or covering one up. In response security precautions have been taken.”
Statement by Mayor Hawkins
“I was elected mayor to make Orange safer, stand up for homeowners and get taxes under control. I was not elected to be a “Mr. Nice Guy” who gives city employees everything they want at the expense of taxpayers. I have no problem with employees who are upset with me. But death threats and intimidation of fellow employees will not be tolerated.
“My administration took drastic steps including temporary layoffs to stop large annual property taxes in Orange from crushing homeowners. We have now achieved budgets with no property tax increases. I cut costs and required workers to become more productive. I did things that outraged some employees.
After a few months, the unions agreed to work rule changes, and we could afford to re-hire and re-promote the affected workers. But, a small group of employees remains extremely bitter. The death threats will not deter me from doing the job that I was hired to do by the residents of Orange.”
Statement by Calvin Bell, Director of Public Works
“William Hathaway has been suspended without pay pending a hearing. Work place harassment, criminal behavior, intimidation and the use of racial slurs…will not be tolerated in my department.”
Statement from Local Talk
“On February 29, the authorities announced that William Hathaway was charged with making terroristic threats against Orange Mayor Eldridge Hawkins, Jr. and another city employee. As of March 1, 2012, Mr. Hathaway is no longer a volunteer/contributor to Local Talk. The decision was made due to this misconduct. He is not authorized to represent Local Talk in any capacity.”