EXCLUSIVE: Richmond former police chief says ‘it’s a mystery’ why he was forced out

Posted at 12:25 AM, Feb 28, 2013

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)--When Mayor Dwight Jones announced two weeks ago that Richmond police Chief Bryan Norwood had resigned, he gave no reason or explanation why the quiet, but well-liked chief of four years was out.

“And it’s a mystery to me,” Bryan Norwood told CBS 6 Wednesday, during his first and only interview since he was ousted.

Norwood wanted to correct the record. He was forced out – he said was told last summer that his tenure as chief would expire the first of the year, long before the community service controversy surrounding pop star Chris Brown started simmering.

His plan all along,  he said, was to serve as police chief of Richmond for at least eight years, so his policies would have time to take full effect. Meanwhile, he said, he fell in love with Richmond.

During a long, candid interview that is posted on this site in its entirety, Norwood said he was given no reason from the mayor or Chief Administrative Officer  Byron Marshall why the mayor wanted him gone.

A persistent explanation whispered from within the mayor’s administration is Jones didn’t like the way former mayor L. Douglas Wilder picked Norwood as chief just before his term expired – unquestionably bad form on Wilder’s part.

Norwood said he didn’t know if that was true or not, but had operated in the hopes that his style and success as chief would overcome anything like that.

Norwood said he had just a few conversations with the mayor during the past four years, all those conversations coming during the first few months of the mayor’s administration. Once Marshall was brought on board, Norwood said he communicated with him about the operations and budget of RPD. There was no indication that RPD’s budget or direction was out of alignment with Jones’ administration.

Norwood’s mysterious ouster, while clearly planned months ago, left the former chief little opportunity to say good-bye to those on the force and the citizens of Richmond. He said he is grateful for their support and hard work in making Richmond a better, safer town.

He said he’s going to enjoy some time off – something he really hasn’t been able to do during the past four years – before he digs into finding a new job.