Woodard has been charged with third-degree theft of property, according to interim police chief John Wilson. Woodard is currently free on bond.
Woodard, who clams he intends to fight the charges and prove his innocence, said he attempted to return to Wilson the computer and a phone that belongs to the city on Aug. 10. However, Woodard said Wilson refused to accept it.
“You’re accusing me of stealing something that, one, I was legally issued, and two, I tried to return to John Wilson himself, and he refused to take it,” said Woodard, who pointed out that he is still technically the city’s chief of police until his due process hearing scheduled for Sept. 20 is held.
Wilson denied that Woodard attempted to return the computer to him. He added that the computer, along with other city property Woodard reportedly had in his possession, has been recovered without incident.
Woodard said he believes the charge against him was brought forth as retaliation “for the things I have uncovered and exposed that have been done in Oakman.”
Wilson said he was merely fulfilling his responsibilities as an officer of the law.
“We’ve basically got a job to do, and we’re going to do it on whoever, whatever, whenever,” Wilson said.
Wilson added that the police obtained warrants from a judge before arresting Woodard. “It wasn’t something we just went out and done,” he said.
Wilson said his main concern was getting the equipment back so it could be used by Oakman police.
Woodard was suspended with pay by Oakman Mayor Joyce Todd in July. Because Oakman police officer Ronnie Phillips was suspended with pay and another officer was on leave of absence at the same time Woodard was suspended, some citizens voiced concern that the mayor’s actions left the city without police protection.
On July 15, the city hired Wilson as its interim chief. Wilson previously was the city’s police chief.
After Wilson was suspended — and eventually fired — from his position as police chief of Oakman, Woodard was named the city’s police chief.