Shakeyla Ingram is campaigning to keep her District 2 seat on the Fayetteville City Council. Challenging her is former Councilman Tyrone Williams, who is running for office again after reluctantly resigning four years ago when allegations emerged that he tried to solicit money from a developer.
Both are Fayetteville natives who grew up in District 2. Both regard themselves as entrepreneurs.
Neither responded to repeated requests for a phone interview or to answer questions by email.
District 2 encompasses the entire downtown district and areas across the Cape Fear River including the Cedar Creek Road area, part of the Baywood subdivision to Dunn Road, and everything up to the Gillespie Street and Massey Hill areas as well as the Holiday Park neighborhood.
Ingram says she's able to understand what the needs are in Fayetteville after living in Atlanta while attending school.
Looking back, Williams says his family took a chance, leaving his parents’ 14-acre farm in Raeford to move to Fayetteville for the chance at a better life.
“I don’t want the investment of my parents to be a bad investment,” he said during the Greater Fayetteville Chamber general election forum on June 30. “I want District 2 to be the district and not to be a bad investment.”
Over the years, he said, he has served on the Economic Development Board in Norfolk, Virginia, and the Safety and Procedures Board of the Norfolk and Southern Railway.
In 2018, Williams resigned from the City Council after weeks of pushing back against calls for his removal. Williams was under investigation by the FBI after allegedly asking Prince Charles Hotel developer Jordan Jones for $15,000 in exchange for handling a favor related to the property’s title.
He maintained that he had done nothing wrong. In his resignation letter, he wrote: “I did not violate any law, or ordinance, or other legal authority.” He placed the blame on the media for “false and misleading accusations.”
Williams has denied there was an FBI investigation, but Jones and Cumberland County District Attorney Billy West said the agency did investigate. A spokeswoman for the FBI said she could neither confirm nor deny that there was an investigation.
In 2018, Williams was accused of inappropriately touching a 10-year-old boy. He was charged with taking indecent liberties with a child, according to court records.
In October 2019, he entered into a conditional discharge on a charge of assault on a child under 12, a misdemeanor, and received 30 months of unsupervised probation and was ordered to follow specific conditions to have the charges later dismissed, according to court records.
As part of the agreement, Williams returned to court on April 4 of this year to determine if he had fulfilled the terms of his conditions and probation. The conditional discharge was revoked and a judgment was entered for a conviction of assault on a child under 12, a misdemeanor, according to court records. Williams was given a 60-day sentence that was suspended for 12 months as well as supervised probation, according to court records.
Williams did not respond to emails or phone messages seeking comment on the allegations.
Neither candidate responded to CityView TODAY’S requests to discuss issues facing the city. The following responses were culled from their answers during the Greater Fayetteville Chamber candidates forum.
Crime in the city continues to rise. Are city officials – specifically, the police chief and Police Department – doing enough to address crime? If not, what should be done differently? (Note: Police Chief Gina Hawkins has since announced that she plans to retire effective in January.)
Ingram: “Yes, we are. We’re doing all that we can to address crime in the city of Fayetteville. I would like to lean on the other side to say that I think we, as a community, have to do a little bit more to help with the efforts by City Council to better the crime here. We have made many investments where police officers are being paid more.
We’re now at 8% staff (low) where that number within the last six months was a bit higher. Our staffing for police officers has gone up comparably to other large cities. We're doing a bit better than most in North Carolina where it comes down to staffing. As it relates to being able to pull in our community to help with crime, we started the community safety micro-grants where we are giving money to help with crime in the city of Fayetteville. You can’t arrest your way out of everything. And so we have to bring in our partners in the county and judicial system to ensure that the laws – when people are being charged with something, it sticks. Because what you will see are repeat offenders who continue to get out and not learn their lesson, for whatever reasons, and continue to commit the same crimes. Those are the things we’re doing to help better the crime.”
Williams: “The city police, Chief (Gina) Hawkins, they’re doing a good job. Are they doing a good enough job? No, they are not. And I’m saying that because my brother got killed three years ago right here in the city of Fayetteville. And I understand they’re doing a lot, but it's never enough. I feel like I’m personally responsible for my community. And I think the citizens and also City Council feels the same way. If something happens in our district, we should know about it. Some way or other, there should be some individual who knows that person and that we should go talk to. … These are the people who need to get involved in the city to curb the crime, to curb the homelessness and to curb what’s going on in our city and also District 2, which I’m focused in. These are the people I would talk to start the programs, pilots, STEM programs. The people that they already respect. But the problem is we’re geared now to so much crime going on over America, seeing the blue suits show up. There's a problem. We need to get back to local leaders that have the respect and the leadership to have things done.”
Sometimes it seems almost like there are two District 2s. There’s the District 2 that includes downtown, where we’ve seen lots of investments, lots of opportunity. Then there’s the other District 2, where people are struggling. Some of the struggles have already been mentioned. What specific ideas would you bring to that (part of) District 2, where there’s a great need and people are trying to make ends meet and they’re dealing with crime? What investment opportunities would you specifically say to target that part of District 2?
Williams: “One of the things I’ve been following is Fayetteville Technical Community College. They just gave a program that’s just awesome. I give kudos to the Cumberland County board. They put a program together when you’re coming out of jail, if you are felony offenders, you can come and apply for a program that puts you through an eight-week course. You can become a plumber, electrician, you can become an HVAC person or a contractor. If you go through that program, it’s subsidized by the county. Half the money the employer who hires them to be paid is by the employer who hires them to give initiative. And then they work on-the-job training. I was actually part of on-the-job training. In high school, I went to Terry Sanford. I was bused out of the community. What happened is, that program — that two summers I went to school – I learned a trade. And it was construction. And to this day, I do construction. They paved the way. That OJT (on-the-job training) — I’m all for it – 100%. You have to put the work in the programs that they can get into.
Felonies, offenders, you’ve got to give them a chance. Not only change their generation but also change the next generation. And by them changing that next generation, it changes your people where you are and their family and gives them a job. You’ve got to make them employers, not employees. You’ve got to raise people up like never before. ... It’s not two District 2s; it's one. The other one’s coming to the district downtown and making statements.”
Ingram: “I’m going to tell a very short story about how I got here. … I had been talking with my grandmother when I moved back. I was talking with my grandmother about what I was seeing. I used to live in Atlanta for school. I was talking a lot with my grandmother about what I was seeing and why the community was looking the way it was. I was concerned because I was seeing the development of a new baseball stadium, but I was seeing where my grandmother lived in Haymount, it was just up and down. I attended a forum the mayor was having at that time. Then I went to a hospital room where my grandmother was pronounced deceased.
From that time on — I was actually going to move to Durham. But that changed because I was very concerned about what was happening in my community. Concerned about the mindset of two different District 2s. … What I think makes this district conclusive, we have to bring up equity, to get everybody’s needs. What council has done, we have added a lot of money into to our corridors, in our communities, for beautification and homeownership. We’re also added money to the workforce development. So those three things — along with our community safety efforts and making sure we educate our citizens about these opportunities. I believe this work the council is doing now will be able to help spread equity not just across Distinct 2 but the city of Fayetteville.
There is a lot of concern among the residents of District 2 and all districts about community safety, property damage and especially our murder rate, which is escalating. There is also talk about police accountability. You see those words a lot. The police chief heads up the Police Department, and she works for the city manager. How do you define police accountability?
Ingram: “So back in 2020, of course, we had a specialist come in to talk about community policing. With community policing, we learned that community policing is not the police officer's job. We learned that community policing is how and what we want to (do) within our own community. When it comes down to police accountability, and let me say this, when it comes down to violent crimes, gun violence, I have been on the receiving ends of both where I've had family members that have committed gun violence, and I've had family members who have been victims of gun violence. So being in the middle of that and understanding what police accountability looks like, it looks like this: We call our officers to do a job and respond to what our needs are. ... Accountability is our officers showing up and presenting constitutional law and enforcing within the right manner. It is up to us to recognize when the law is not working, and we have to be educated, in short.
To me, police accountability is having the education and knowing what your rights are as a citizen. Knowing what jurisdiction the police officer has. Knowing not just what the police officers do but knowing what the Sheriff's Department does as well as your N.C. special police officers. You must as a citizen know and feel the need to build a relationship and get to know your police officers. There's contact information on the website where you can reach out if you see something going on. You have every right to ask an officer what is going on. You have every right to report something. That is accountability, not just for police but citizens, as well."
Williams: “Police accountability, we have lost that. And tell you why we've lost it. Because of the media, the TV and all the activity going on. District 2, when you turn on the TV, you see all the murder, you see all the abuse, all the claims of people who died and got shot by a police officer with their back turned.
So you must understand that is what they see, that is what they understand. So what we have to do now is to go back to the middle schools and the elementary schools and have the police officers showing up. They have to come in with their blue uniforms and talk to the kids and let them understand that is not who they see on TV. Encouragement. Good words. Now the older generations, it's going to be a task. But if you start with the younger generations, and they go home and tell mother how the police officers came today and how he taught the class and how he showed a few things, those types of things are going to evolve over time and you could make this a better system. But the system — as calling the police initially went up, there's already animosity going on and the thoughts already in their mind — it's a critical situation. Sometimes it escalates it even more. I love the police officers. I know half of their names.
When I see them, I shake their hands on the street, pat them on the back and tell them, 'Thank you for your service.' Also, the Fire Department. I understand their work is very hard. It's not because of the individuals; it's because of the sense of who they are. … So we have to go back to the elementary schools. We have to go back to the middle schools and retrain the kids over the next generation. And, hopefully, they would change the parents' view. Just a whole other level of policing. We have to get human nature involved. We have to love one another to make this world go round and round."
Occupation: Entrepreneur in marketing and community relations
Elected office: Fayetteville City Council, one term
Contacts: 910-644-0368; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; https://www.facebook.com/smifaync/; https://twitter.com/IngramDistrict2; https://instagram.com/IngramDistrict2
Occupation: Owner of Veteran’s Reality and Community Advancement Awareness, real-estate investor and developer; Navy veteran
Elected office: Fayetteville City Council, partial term
Contacts: 910-584-9249 or email@example.com