ATLANTA CITIZEN REVIEW BOARD
MINUTES OF THE LAST MEETING
55 Trinity Avenue, SW, Committee Room Two
Atlanta, Georgia 30303
February 09, 2012 / 6:30 P.M
(Eleven Members of the Board)
EIGHT ACTIVE MEMBERS PRESENT
PAUL BARTELS (Bartels)
RUTH PRICE (Price)
BARBARA HUBBARD (Hubbard)
ALAN MORRIS (Morris)
CHARIS JOHNSON (C. Johnson)
JOY MORRISSEY (Chair/Morrissey)
RYAN JOHNSON (R. Johnson)
MACEO WILLIAMS (Williams)
PAMALA ALINIECE (Aliniece)
WILLIAM HARRISON (Harrison)
ONE VACANT APPOINTMENT
Office of the Mayor (vacant 6 months)
MARC ADDINGTON (Addington), Investigator; WILLIAM CASTING (Casting), City Law Department, Assigned Board Attorney; SHEENA ROBERTSON (Robertson), Investigator; SHARESE SHIELDS, Interim Executive Director; MYOLA SMITH, Transcriber (Smith)
A G E N D A
MEETING CALLED TO ORDER
The meeting was called to order at 6:37 p.m. The Chair welcomed the Atlanta Police Department represented by Major Elder Dancy and staff of the Office of Professional Standards. The Chair also announced Public Comments would be taken at the end of the meeting and if anyone cared to speak, to please sign up. Comments are limited to three (3) minutes per person.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES OF THE LAST MEETING
The Chair asked if there were any corrections to the minutes of the last meeting held December 8, 2011 at 6:30 p.m. Hearing no corrections, by way of acclimation, the Chair called for a vote to accept the minutes. The minutes were approved.
CONSIDERATION OF INVESTIGATION #11-63, COMPLAINT OF EXCESSIVE FORCE / INVESTIGATION BY SHEENA ROBERTSON
Robertson reported that Complaint #11-63 was filed with the ACRB alleging that during the period covering August 9 to August 15, of 2011, while detained at the Grady Detention Center, an unidentified officer employed by the Atlanta Department of Corrections engaged in unnecessary and excessive force against the Complainant. Specifically, the Complainant alleges that the officer refused his numerous requests to loosen the handcuffs; and at times, the Officer tightened them. The Complainant alleges that as a result of the tight handcuffs, he sustained injuries to his wrists and arms.
- WHAT THE INVESTIGATION REVEALED
The investigation revealed that during the course of this investigation, the ACRB contacted the Atlanta Department of Corrections’ Office of Professional Standard (ACD OPS) and they provided eleven (11) black and white photographs of both Correctional and Security Officers that were assigned to the Grady Detention Center during the timeframe the Complainant was detained at the center.
During the interview session, the Complainant was shown the aforementioned photographs and he immediately identified the individual involved. The ACD OPS also was able to identify this individual and according to their records, the person identified is not employed by Atlanta Department of Corrections. The subject individual is employed with Norred & Associates, Inc. (Norred).
According to the Commander of ACD OPS, the City contracted with Norred because of budgetary issues and to satisfy the required accreditation standards for Grady Hospital.
- STAFF RECOMMENDATION
Robertson concluded that based on the documentary and testimonial evidence, obtained during the course of this investigation, there is insufficient evidence to establish that an officer with the Atlanta Department of Corrections was involved.
Therefore, the staff recommends a finding of Not Sustained in the allegation of Excessive Force against the Atlanta Department of Corrections.
It was further recommended that the ACRB contact Norred and refer this matter to them for further investigation.
- BOARD VOTE ON STAFF RECOMMENDATION
It was moved by Morris to accept the staff’s recommendation to Not Sustain the allegation. The motion was seconded by Bartels. Hearing no discussion, the motion was approved with one ‘Nay’ vote by Williams.
Following the vote, it should be noted that Bartels expressed concern regarding the type of restraints used in this case. He said, “Although I voted to not sustain, the one thing that is of some concern in this case, is that this gentleman apparently, suffered a seizure and that was why he was taken to Grady. If somebody is having seizures it is obvious they will move around pretty violently and they can’t control that. There are other types of restraints besides handcuffs that could be used. I realize they are in custody and therefore, have to be restrained, but that is a concern. Also, if somebody for example is there for mental health problems, they are also going to be thrashing around and violent. There are other types of restraints, like the ones used in the hospitals for psychiatric patients that can be used besides handcuffs.”
Bartels moved to recommend, by way of a letter, that the Detention Center look into other types of restraints to be used other than handcuffs. The motion was seconded by Williams. Hearing no further discussion, the motion was approved.
“The name of complainants, witnesses, and officers have been redacted from print copy.”
CONSIDERATION OF INVESTIGATION #11-77, COMPLAINT OF FALSE ARREST, INVESTIGATION BY SHEENA ROBERTSON
Robertson reported that Complaint #11-77 was filed with the ACRB alleging False Arrest against an Officer of the Atlanta Police Department (APD).
The Complainant alleges he was falsely arrested by officers of the APD on three separate occasions: June 7th, July 14th and September 26, of 2011.
- WHAT THE INVESTIGATION REVEALED
- First Arrest,June 7, 2011 by APD Officer #One
- Allegation: The Complainant stated he was at the Garnett Marta Station sitting behind a wall when he observed a car speeding towards him, so he got up and ran away from where he was sitting, but stayed within the parking lot. The Complainant said he did not know the vehicle moving towards him was the Atlanta police because there were no markings on the car. The Complainant said an APD officer exited the vehicle, handcuffed him and put him in the car. The Complainant stated that as he was being handcuffed, the Officer asked him why he ran. He said he told the Officer that he ran because he thought the vehicle was going to hit him. The Complainant said the Officer then transported him to the Atlanta Pre-Trial Detention Facility, and it was there when he found out why he was being arrested. The Complainant said that when he read the arrest citation, he noticed that the Officer had charged him with littering. Additionally, he noticed the Officer had indicated on the citation he smashed a crack pipe onto the ground which he alleges was false.
- First Arrest,June 7, 2011 by APD Officer #One
The Complainant sated that he remained in jail for approximately three weeks before being released. He said this case was dismissed because the Officer failed to appear in court.
- Interview with the Officer: The Officer advised that on the day of the incident, he was conducting surveillance for illegal narcotics activity in the vicinity of Peachtree Street and Trinity Avenue. The Officer said that at some point, he observed the Complainant enter into an area that is commonly used for smoking crack cocaine and using other illegal drugs and alcohol. At that location, the Officer stated that he observed the Complainant smoking what appeared to be crack cocaine. The Officer said he drove his unmarked vehicle into the area, exited the vehicle and proceeded to approach the Complainant. The Officer alleged that as he was approaching, the Complainant noticed that he was a police officer and immediately threw the lighter and crack pipe to the ground. The Officer claims the Complainant then stepped on the pipe, causing it to break, and crushed away any evidence that was inside. He further claims the Complainant attempted to walk away; however, he was able to apprehend and arrest him for littering. The Officer said he did not find any evidence of illegal narcotics because the Complainant destroyed all possible evidence when he stepped on the pipe.
During the interview, the Officer stated he did not appear in court regarding this matter because he did not receive notification advising him of the date and time of the hearing.
- Court records: According to the Atlanta Municipal Court’s records, the Complainant was charged with Disorderly Conduct, Section 11, “Throw bottles, papers, cans, glass, sticks, stones, missiles or other debris on public property.” The records further indicate that these charges were dismissed June 29, 2011 due to the officer’s non-appearance.
- Second Arrest, July 14, 2011 by APD Officer #Two
- Allegation: The Complainant stated he was standing on the sidewalk on Peachtree Street approximately a block from the CNN building and as people walked by, he would ask them for some change. He said one particular woman stopped and went into her purse to give him a dollar. He said this required him to walk to her so he could get the money. He said after he got the money, he walked back to his original location and it was then an APD Officer arrested and charged him with aggressive panhandling. The Complainant stated that he spent the night in jail and was released the following morning, adding that the case was dismissed for reasons unknown to him.
- Interview with the Officer: The subject Officer claims that on the day of the incident, he was standing on the first level above the street of a parking deck located on the corner of Peachtree Street and Centennial Olympic Park when he observed the Complainant standing on the street directly underneath, asking people for money. The Officer said at first, he only heard the Complainant asking people for money; however, at some point, he looked over the railing and saw the Complainant aggressively approaching people. The Officer explained that the Complainant was approaching individuals and blocking their path and repeatedly asking for money. After the Officer continued to observe the Complaint’s action, he arrested him.
- Court Records: According to the Atlanta Municipal Court’s records, the Complainant was arrested July 14, 2011 and charged with Disorderly Conduct, Section 12, “Accost or force oneself upon the company of another.” The records further indicate that the following day, July 15, 2011, the charges were dismissed for evidentiary reasons.
- Third Arrest, September 26, 2011 by APD Officers #Three, #Four, #Five
a. Allegation: The Complaint stated that on this particular day, he was sitting on the steps on a side street across from the Ellis Hotel talking to another individual when Officer #Three walked by and he (Complainant) asked him (Officer) for some change. Officer #Three did not respond and continued walking. The Complainant was asked by the individual sitting on the steps with him, if he knew that he was talking to a police officer. The Complainant said ‘yes’ and added that he had not broken any laws.
According to the Complainant, he left that particular area shortly thereafter and then went to 200 Peachtree Street where he was standing and drinking water when Officers #Four and #Five drove up and arrested him. The Complainant stated that he believed Officer #Three overhead his earlier response about knowing he was a police officer and had him arrested. The Complainant claims Officer #Three later made a comment to him about it when they were at the precinct.
The Complainant said he was incarcerated for approximately fifteen days before being released. He said this charge was dismissed due to the officers’ failure to appear in court.
b. Court Records: According to Atlanta Municipal Court’s records related to this arrest, the Complainant was charged with Disorderly Conduct, Section 10, “Breach of Peace.” The records further indicate that the charges were dismissed October 11, 2011 due to the officers’ non-appearance in court.
c. Interviews with APD Officers #Three, #Four and #Five: Officer #Three stated that on the day of the incident, he was working a panhandling detail in downtown Atlanta when he encountered the Complainant on two separate occasions. The first occasion was at the Peachtree Center Marta Station when the Complainant approached him several times asking for some money; however, he (officer) continued walking. Officer #Three said as he was walking away, he overhead someone tell the Complainant that he was a police officer; however, he (officer) did not look in their direction. Approximately thirty minutes later, he saw the Complainant standing in front of a restaurant located on 200 Peachtree Street. The complainant again approached Officer #Three several times for money. The Officer said he repeatedly told the Complainant that he did not have any money. The Officer said at some point, he called one of the take down teams and advised them to come to the location to arrest the Complainant for aggressive panhandling.
Officer #4 and #5 were part of a Field Investigation Team (FIT) takedown unit. The officers said they received a radio call from Officer #3 advising them to come to 200 Peachtree Street and arrest the Complainant who had been repeatedly asking him for money. They said upon their arrival, they arrested the Complainant and transported him to the precinct. During the interviews, all of the officers were asked why they did not appear in court regarding this matter. They all stated that they did not receive notification advising them of the date and time of the hearing.
The Complainant alleges that all three arrests (June 7th, July 14th and September 26th) were made without probable cause. However, during the interviews with the ACRB, all of the involved officers contend that they did have sufficient probable cause to arrest the Complainant. There were no independent witnesses who could corroborate either account.
- STAFF RECOMMENDATION
Robertson stated that based on the testimonial and documentary evidence obtained during the course of this investigation there is insufficient evidence to indicate that any of the three arrests were not legally justified. Therefore ,the staff recommends that the allegation of False Arrest against Officers #One, Officer #Two, Officer #Three, Officer #Four and Officer #Five be assigned a finding of “Not Sustained.”
It is further recommended that the ACRB refer this matter to APD’s Office of Professional Standards to investigate whether or not the Officer #One, Officer #Three, Officer #Four and Officer #Five receive notification from the Atlanta Municipal Court to appear in these related matters.
Robertson also notified the Board that APD has a court Liaison Office who is responsible for receiving, documenting and distributing all subpoenas and summons for employees. She said, “I contacted their office and according to their records, Officer #One was served a subpoena to appear in court regarding the June 7th arrest. However, they have no records of receiving any subpoenas for Officers #Three, #Four and #Five to appear in court concerning the September 26th arrest.
- BOARD VOTE ON STAFF RECOMMENDATION
It was moved by Morris to accept the staff recommendation. Price seconded the motion.
Discussion & questions…
- Bartels expressed that he was surprised the Board had not received more cases similar to this case because of the number of arrest made under the Disorderly Conduct ordinance. He said, “I honestly think there are constitutional problems with the ordinance, but I understand the officers are not responsible for working that out and they have to enforce the laws that are written.” He further indicated that while he felt the first arrest for littering comes under Section 11, of the Disorderly Conduct ordinance; however, the second arrest, just based on the report, was not probable cause for an arrest under Section 12 because it is not illegal to ask people for money. He said, “What is illegal is to do it in an aggressive manner and that is under Section 12. Where someone is continuing to request items of value from people after a negative response has been given. The officer who was interviewed a number of months later did say that’s what was going on but I would note that there is nothing about that in the police report. All the police report says is they just asked people for money and I don’t believe that comes under aggressive panhandling. The third arrest, he (the Complainant) was alleged to have asked the officers several times and it does fit here.”
- Williams agreed with Bartels comments
- The Chair asked the staff to takes Bartels comments under recommendation when looking to new cases.
Hearing no further discussion, the motion was approved with two people voting ‘Nay’, Williams and R. Johnson.
“The name of complainants, witnesses, and officers have been redacted from print copy.”
CONSIDERATION OF DISMISSAL OF COMPLAINT #11-69, INVESTIGATOR SHEENA ROBERTERSON
Investigator Robertson summarized the request to dismiss. She reported that the Complainant filed a complaint with the ACRB on October 13, 2011. The Complainant alleged that on September 16, 2011, he was falsely arrested and charged with solicitation by an APD officer. At the time the complaint was filed, the criminal case was pending adjudication in the Atlanta Municipal Court; therefore, the Board voted to suspend the investigation pending adjudication of the case.
On January 19, 2012, the Complainant accepted a plea agreement and the solicitation charge was reduced to a lesser offense and he paid a fine and Robertson said it based on this information that staff is recommending dismissal of the complaint.
The Chair entertained a motion. It was moved by Bartels to accept staff recommendation to dismiss. Morris seconded. Hearing no discussion, the motion was approved.
INTAKE REPORT FOR JANUARY, 2012
The monthly Intake Report was presented by Investigator Robertson. A total of two (2) complaints were received for the month of January, 2012. Staff recommended investigating of the complaints and dismissing three (3) complaints. The following is a list of those complaints and recommendations by the staff:
- Complaint #12-01 involved an allegation of False Arrest against Atlanta Police.
Staff recommends investigation if and when the matter is adjudicated in favor of the Complainant.
- Complaint #12-02 involved an allegation of False Arrest against Atlanta Police.
Staff recommends dismissal because the incident occurred beyond the 180 days and is time barred.
The Chair entertained a motion to accept the Intake report and recommendations. It was moved by Williams to accept the report and staff recommendations. The motion was seconded by Bartels. The Chair called for a discussion. Hearing none, the motion was approved by all.
PERSONNEL SEARCH COMMITTEE REPORT, ALAN MORRIS, COMMITTEE CHAIR
Morris, the committee chair, distributed a written report recapping the committee’s activity to date. He read and reported that the purpose of the Search Committee is to secure a candidate for Interim Executive Director and also to make recommendations to the full Board a minimum of three qualified candidates to fill the ACRB Executive Director position.”
The Committee has reviewed applications and recommended Sharese Shields as the interim director. The Committee has worked with City HR Department to advertise for a permanent Executive Director and to review the applications. A total of 150 plus people applied for the position. The Committee and HR selected the top ten candidates. The Committee reviewed the top ten candidates selected and they also decided to look at resumes of those who were not selected in the top ten. Once the final top ten were selected, they were ranked by the Committee and narrowed down to five candidates for a face-to-face interview.
Currently, the Committee has asked the HR Department to arrange interviews with the five candidates in late February. Interview questions are being solicited by the Committee from Board members and the HR Department. The Committee will use a scoring matrix to rate the response of each candidate during the interview. Each candidate can expect to be asked a minimum of ten questions.
Future plans include:
- conduct face-to-face interviews with five candidates;
- choose three top qualified candidates;
- hold public forum for full Board and interested stakeholders to meet and question candidates;
- the ACRB meets to choose Executive Director.
Questions and comments…
- Williams asked how the Committee will conduct the process of paying the expenses for candidates outside of the state traveling to Atlanta for an interview. He asked, “Are we (full board) going to vote on that or what?” Morris responded, “Madam Chair should we ask for a vote of the Board to get the Board’s opinion of that? It is my impression at this point that if we offer candidates travel, the most that it would cost is $500, but it could be more than that, but still a small amount of money.”
- Morrissey answered, “One thing in earlier discussions that Mr. Williams is talking about is Interim Director Shields had found out the possibility of given a stipend. I was thinking about the round trip fare for one candidate, in Louisiana, who is looking for some funding to help her get here for an interview. This is not unusual. Candidates for jobs get financial help all the time. Now this isn’t true for everything, but it is often the way business is done. One of the things I learned last time is when we previously chose our first Executive Director, we did lose a few candidates, because they were not about to fly across country; one of them being in Mexico, as a matter of fact, was not going to foot the bill to come here. So we did lose a couple of good candidates that way. So when you look at all of these things in the mix, these are decisions that we have to make. Ms. Shields tell me, there is money and I believe there is a travel item. I know nothing about finances, except for the big number, but there is some money that could be used this way. I am guessing that a plane ticket from Shreveport or New Orleans is going to be something like $200 to $300 dollars tops and one night stay in a hotel. Maybe we can offer a stipend of $500 or less, I don’t know, these are thoughts for you to consider. How about I open the floor for discussion and let’s not talk too long about this because we still have a very long agenda.”
- Hubbard asked, “How many persons are we looking at who will be traveling from other cities?” Morris responded, “One.”
- Williams said, “Can we just go across the board because we have candidates sitting out here in the audience right now who just stopped in the middle of his trip last month to come back here. He was up in Boston but because he wanted to be a candidate and he thought the period was closing for people applying, he decided to fly back to Atlanta and pay this own cost. If that is case, we have to be fair alone the same lines for everyone that is going to be coming and who has already come.”
- Morrissey answered by saying, “I think you we are talking about people whose primary principle place of resident is not in the City of Atlanta.”
- Williams, “Well I guess that part hasn’t come out yet. Let’s just make sure what is good for the goose is good for the gander.”
- R. Johnson, “Madam Chair, I just have a question for a point for clarification. The Personnel Committee is a Committee that is put together on behalf of the Board. Is that correct?” Chair Morrissey answered, yes. R. Johnson stated, “So we are able to make that determination as to who it is we would like to bring to the board within our guidelines and regulations and By-Laws, we are capable of handling that on behalf of the Board.”
- Chair Morrissey answered, “It is my understanding with regards to the By-Laws and Roberts Rules of Order that that is correct. If there are any questions about that, we can certainly look into it further.”
- R. Johnson continued, “Once we’ve narrowed down the fields so that we can limit the amount of people who potentially could come, wouldn’t that be within our ability to do this and then provide the Board with the final candidate? Then maybe at that time it would be better to consider whether or not we will be flying people in for that initial or final consideration.”
- Morrissey, “I am trying to understand what you are talking about. It has been narrowed down to five. Are you saying of these five, pay for one for the first interview, is that what you are saying?”
- R. Johnson, “What I am saying is if there is a determination to be made as to who the Board is going to consider at this point, isn’t it within the Personnel Committee to be able to do so?”
- Morrissey, “It is my understanding that is correct. Mr. Casting, could you give us any insight into that…this being a special committee and according to Roberts Rules of Order?”
- Casting responded, “I don’t have a copy of Robert’s Rules of Order with me, but if you are going to be spending money, I think you need to vote on it.” Morrissey said, “So we need an amount of money.”
- Shields interjected with a recommendation, “As a recommendation, I think what the Board needs to decide is what amount of money they want to set aside for travel expenses and then you can determine from that pool of money, how you want to allocate it and to which candidates, whether it is a first interview or second or whatever. But you need to vote on is what amount of money you want to spend on travel expenses for candidates period.” R. Johnson, “Who’s going to be voting? Are we going to be voting within the Personnel Committee or as a Board?”
- Morrissey stated, “I think, when it comes to money, it should be the full Board.” Shields added, “Madam Chair, the Personnel Committee can certainly make a recommendation to the Board as to what dollar amount that should be and the Board as a whole need to vote on it.”
- Bartels said, “I think $500 sounds as reasonable as any amount. Since you (referring to Morrissey) said that the cost be somewhere in the range of $250 to $300 for a ticket and hotel shouldn’t be more than the remainder. In terms of food, people have always got to eat whether they are here or not, so I don’t think we should have to pay for that. I propose $500.”
- Price: “The five candidates are going to be heard by the Personnel Committee and we, the full board, will only be able to interview or get a face-to-face of the final three that you are pulling from the five, is that correct?” Morris answered, “That is correct.” Price said, “So the full Board will look at the top three candidates and we will eliminate two from five.” Morris agreed. Price continued, “That list of ten candidates is there any reason why the full Board could not look at the names of the complete list of ten? Is that too time consuming? What governs that?”
- Morris, Committee Chair indicated that he would leave that to the Chair to answer. Morrissey, “Time is one consideration, and if you take a group of people who have educated themselves in regards to who we are looking for…what we are looking for…and we have selected a committee and they have their charge. Certainly, time is one of the consideration and we also can do this more efficiently, more quickly, with four than with ten.”
- To clarify again, Price asked, “So the entire Board will be able to face the three finalists and make a decision?” Morris and the Chair said, “Yes,” Price said, “OK, that’s all I wanted to make clear.”
- Williams suggested, “Madam Chair, when you talk about transportation, and the most expedient and the most economical, we need to take into consideration the new airlines. They are about the cheapest fare on the market right now. Given our budget and the fact that we didn’t have that money in the beginning, we need to be more economically inclined.”
Following the discussion, the Chair asked for clarity, “What we are talking about is for one candidate to come from a state other than Georgia. Is that what we are talking about? Shields said, “Madam Chair, my recommendation is for the Board to vote on a dollar amount to set as a pool for any candidate. You may decide to bring another candidate for a second interview or you may have to go outside the five.”
It was moved by R. Johnson, to set aside a pool of funds for travel expenses for the out of town candidate for at least $500.
- C. Johnson, “Can somebody tell us what we can go up to? Can we do a $1000 or $750?” Shields answered, “Based on funds that are available, $1000 would be the maximum that the Board could afford for all candidates.”
- Referring to other candidates possibly being reimbursed for mileage Price asked, “Are we going to be responsible for transportation for people who live within the City or is the money for just this one person from out of the state…is the money allocated for that particular person? If someone is coming for an interview and they live in College Park or Columbus, Georgia will we have to pay for their expenses out of that $1000 for them to come up to Atlanta?”
- Chair Morrissey answered, “No.”
- C. Johnson added, “I think the thought is if you have a strong candidate coming from out of state or even temporarily out of state, we do want to encourage them to be able to interview. We don’t want to say that the people here locally are not good candidates, but we do have a strong candidate under consideration who lives out of state and I think that is what we are trying to take under consideration for this. So I think that is just normal standard.”
Following the discussion, R. Johnson amended his motion. He moved to set aside funds, up to $1000, for the candidate pool. Price seconded. Hearing no further discussion, the motion was approved with one ‘Nay’ vote by Williams.
A draft copy of the Biennial Report was passed around for review. Interim Director Shields explained the reason she was showing a copy of the report at this time, is so the Board could see the progress and how hard the staff was working to compile` data. She said, “We still have a ways to go, but our hope is to get this completed in time for the budget cycle. If you have thoughts or comments, please share them with us.”
Chair Morrissey reported that this would be her last meeting as Chairperson. “I just want to say thank you to everybody who attends, both on the board and to the public. It is very important that the public pay attention to what is going on here. I think the staff is absolutely the best. I have never really run across anybody who work as hard as these people do and they don’t get nearly enough appreciation. I just want to say, ‘thank you.’ I love the people that I have served with and I really mean that. I have developed really wonderful and great relationships with people here and no matter what we do moving forward; I have very, very fond feelings toward everybody.”
COMMUNITY OUTREACH PLAN REPORT, MACEO WILLIAMS, SR., COMMITTEE CHAIR
Williams stated, “In the past, under the previous administration, we attempted to do this plan. There were a few of us who came out and Ms. Shields was one of the dedicated people there at the time; but we couldn’t get it off the ground. We tried it again with another group of dedicated people and this time we succeeded. Ryan (Johnson), we appreciate everything you put in and Joy (Chair Morrissey) we appreciate everything you put in too. William (Harrison) and Pam (Aliniece) were also on the Committee and the information they provided was very pertinent. Mrs. Price came and jumped right in there and did her share, even though she and Bill (Harrison) were just coming on the Board.
Traditionally, we have never had a plan like this before and we want to make sure that we do everything right. The Board was given a copy of the plan in December and asked to review it and make comments. I’ve reviewed and there are some minor changes. We want to make sure the citizens of Atlanta know what this particular Board is about and what it can and cannot do and what grounds we cover. This is a plan that works not only for the people that are walking the streets but for those being detained by the Department of Corrections. In the last year, I have been able to participate on a national level and watch other boards and also got information from them. If and when we vote on this plan, hopefully, we can get an individual to work this and do just Outreach because this is certainly going to be a big task. I did a lot of reaching out and we have tried to consider all groups within the city, i.e., Neighborhoods Crime Specialist and Prevention, professional and legal organization, NPU’s, the Gay & Lesbian community and many other groups providing social services. We also want to develop a relation with the media. NACOLE was very helpful and receptive and also, we found the Book of Lists as a great tool to use. There is a lot that has to be done and it’s all included in the plan. I am asking for vote to accept this particular proposal tonight so that we can go forward on this.”
- Price stated, “I have looked at the plan and it looks good, but what concerns me is being able to apply this. I don’t think it is applicable at this time because it is a lot of work. You are going to have to hire someone and our budget will need to be increased.” Price also expressed concern about having a relationship with PALS and how the missions differ and duplication of work being performed by the judicial system. “I don’t think we should approve this right now until we get a new director so that person can have some say in this. Also, there are more than five (5) people currently sitting on the Board who are scheduled to go off the Board and also the financial burden of applying this. I don’t think we should make a decision right now.”
- Responding to Price’s comments regarding PALS, Williams indicated that he meet the individuals over PALS a husband and wife team. He said,” I met them and they said they would like to partner with us. Regarding expenditures, we just finished talking about flying folks in to Atlanta to interview and we just spent money hiring interim people, so something has to be there. I don’t think it is going to take a lot of money to do this, especially, if someone has a heart to do this sort of thing.”
- R. Johnson stated, “I agree with Mr. Williams in the case that we are here to support our officers to give them the feedback that can improve the relationship between the community and trust. I believe working with Community Outreach and police programs like COPS and PALS, we are capable of doing that and it just a matter of determining whatever activities we should get involved with. Ms. Price I also agree with you that we need to have the new ED’s input. We can have her to go through the plan, but it may be feasible that we can manage it as a board if we are selective about what it is we want to get involved with, in the beginning, to lay down the foundation to implement this. I agree about having someone who is going to be out there who will be engaged in the community, not only at the neighborhood level, but other organization and stakeholders who have a vested interest in this city.”
- To clarify, Price said, “I did not say that the plan was not good, I said I thought, right now, was a bad time because we have too many other things we are trying to do. We are trying to establish how people move off this Board when their time has expired and we trying to get a new director. I see it as a very hard task that will require more volunteer time from the Board. A person will probably need to be hired to do this and I don’t believe you can find anyone on this Board who have been in Atlanta as long as I have. I have been here for over 40 years and have been actively involved in different activities in the City. I am giving up one Thursday a month to this Board and that is all I am willing to do. I’m not saying the plan is not good, but it is not something I would vote to push at this time until we get a new director. Then we sit down and decide what actually can be done. What is good in New Orleans may not apply to Atlanta. Let’s just hold off until we get our new director.”
- Morrissey said, “I want to make a point, a very important point we fail to mention time and time again, this is a volunteer Board. Although some people have lots of time to spend, not everyone has a lot of time to spend. We need to remember that of our fellow board members. Volunteering does not mean it is 24/7. Some like Community Outreach would be for our Executive Director implement for us. What has been accomplished so far is very good ground work and when the new Executive Director gets here then that will help them to be up and running.”
- Bartels stated, “I understand everyone’s perspective, but I would propose we consider voting to adopt it (the plan) as a draft understanding that not every single item in there is legally binding that we have to do all this right away and then leave it up to the Executive Director.”
- Williams, “I just want to say thank you for your comment Mrs. Price because that shows great consistency on you with negativism and you only want to do one or two hours a month.…”
- Chair Morrissey interrupted Williams and informed him that his comments were not appropriate.
- Williams continued, “I understand that too, a person being of single core, I understand that but I’m just asking the Board for consideration of all the time that we put in on this and the fact that we need to start as soon as possible. Those who don’t want to do Outreach, well this it is not for them any way.”
- R. Johnson, “Like Paul (Bartels) said this is a draft. Everything in here is an opportunity for whom ever may be interested in implementing it…whether we hire someone or whether the Board has to do it ourselves. There is no mandate nor does it limited a person to the information included here and the again the board can consider what it is we want to get involved in. This information that is accessible to the person who will be implementing this.”
- C. Johnson indicated that she agreed with Paul (Bartels). “With volunteerism, you have to realistically balance your time. There are people who have more time to devote and that is commendable, but everyone can’t do that. You have either got to have a person to volunteer to do this, or bring on a consultant or hire a person, and we don’t have money for that and should we use staff who may be overburdened already. It is a good proposal but like Paul (Bartels) we need to vote on it as a draft.
Following the discussion, the Chair entertained a motion regarding the Community Outreach Plan.
Bartels moved to accept the plan as a draft whereby implementing and reviewing it will be one of the Executive Director’s responsibility. The motion was seconded by Price. Hearing no further discussion and calling for the vote, the motion was approved unanimously.
Before moving to the next agenda item, the Chair acknowledged Myola (Smith). Morrissey said, “At this time I would like to acknowledge Myola Smith for putting in countless hours in this task of the Community Outreach Program. I don’t think it would have come together without her and the members of the committee who have done an outstanding job. Mr. Williams thank you for chairing the committee. This is not a standing committee, and the Committee has been dismissed having completed the task.
BOARD ELECTIONS FOR 2012
The Chair announced that the city ordinance requires the Atlanta Citizen Review Board to elect new officers February of each year. The positions are: Board Chair, Vice Chair and Secretary. Ballots were distributed for the vote; however prior to the vote, the Chair open the floor for nominations.
Price nominated Paul Bartels as Chair, and Bill Harrison for Vice-Chair. She (Price) also stated, “Although Mr. Harrison is not here, I did speak with him earlier and ask for his permission to nominate him for the office and he accepted.”
Bartels nominated Alan Morris for Secretary.
- Hubbard asked, “Is it OK to nominate a person, if they are absent?”
- The Chair responded, “I did check on that and Mr. Casting (Board Attorney) can verify that when it comes to a nomination in election to office, you do not have to be present. You just have to have given your OK that you will indeed accept the office. Mr. Harrison has given his written acceptance via email and also copying Ms. Shields. If we need to call him on the phone right now, he is available. He is OK being Vice Chair, if you so nominate him.”
The Chair called for final nominations. Hearing none, the floor was closed. The Chair then asked the members to vote by writing in the name for each office, submit the ballot and pass it forward for confirmation.
It should be noted that while the voting process was being completed and nominees confirmed, for the sake of time, the Chair open the floor for Price to make a motion regarding the APD officer who last week lost her life in the line of duty.
It was moved by Price to send a letter to Chief George Turner and his Command staff expressing the Board’s condolences in the lost of his officer, last week. The motion was seconded by Bartels. Hearing no questions, the Chair called for the vote. The motion was approved with one “Nay” vote by Williams. The Chair asked Interim Director Shields to draft a letter to Chief Turner.
Special Note: The results of the election will be announced following the next agenda item.
PERSONNEL MATTERS (Executive Session)
The Chair entertained a motion to go into Executive Session to discussion personnel matters.
The motion was made by Morris to go into Executive Session and seconded by C. Johnson. Hearing no opposition, the motion was approved.
** Members of the Board met in closed session from 7:50 p.m. to 8:20 p.m. **
It was moved by Bartels to end the closed session. The motion was seconded by Price.
ELECTION RESULTS AND THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF NEW OFFICERS ELECTED FOR 2012:
Shields made the following announcement: “Madam Chair, by majority vote, the Board has elected the following new officers:
v Paul Bartels as Chair of the Atlanta Citizen Review Board
v William Harrison as Vice Chair
v Alan Morris, Secretary
The Chair and members congratulated the new officers for 2012.
Chair Morrissey opened the floor for public comments reminding each speaker of the three (3) minutes allowed per person.
1st Speaker: Robin Carmichael:
Mr. Carmichael indicated that he wished to address the Board on behalf of Mr. James Dowell who has applied for the Executive Directive position. He stated, “I have lived my entire life here in Atlanta. My family has been in Atlanta for over 100 years. I only come down to City Hall on special occasions. Speaking on behalf of Mr. Dowell is one of those occasions. I have known Mr. Dowell for well over 10 years. He is a good person and I personal endorsement on Mr. James Doyle for Director.”
2nd Speaker: Ms. Linda Adams:
“I am a resident of the Vine City neighborhood and I am here on behalf of Mr. James Doyle. I have known him for over 10 years. He has compassion and is very, very active in the neighborhood. He cares for all people. He has been very instrumental in making sure things are done right in our neighborhood and people or heard. He is a resident and property owner which means he is serious about the neighborhood and not just passing through.”
3rd Speaker: Ms. Shawanda Hood:
“I am also here for Mr. Doyle. I have lived in Vine City all my life. I have known Mr. Doyle for over 10 years. He gets involved and he has a passion for the whole community. He fights every day for us. I think it would be wise decision if Mr. Doyle was selected for the position.”
Shields announced that the deadline for Financial Disclosure is February 15th. Regarding the Biennial Report, she also announced that previously members were asked to provide staff with a listing of their community involvement to list in the report. She asked for that information to be emailed to Myola Smith.
Price asked for an update regarding the appointment letters for the approximately five (5) members whose term has expired or will expire in the coming months. Shields indicated that all the letters were sent to the appointing agencies. “The members who have terms that are expiring, their appointing agency were contacted and those individual received a copy of the letter in their packets.”
Williams announced that he has been invited, on behalf of APAB, to attend a White House Community Partnership Summit tomorrow morning at the Federal Building, downtown Atlanta. “This is the first stop for this type of initiative. Also, I have been asked to conduct a breakout session.”
Morrissey reminded the board that if anyone had a question for the candidates, to please submit the questions to Alan Morris.
Chair Morrissey entertained a motion to adjourn. Bartels moved to adjourn the meeting. Price seconded.
The meeting adjourned at 8:31 p.m.