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ATLANTA CITIZEN REVIEW BOARD
Special Call Meeting
MINUTES OF THE MEETING
DECEMBER 15, 2010, 12:00 PM
CITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS, 55 TRINITY AVENUE, S.W., ATLANTA, GEORGIA 30303

ROLL CALL

Members Present                                                      Members Absent

RODERICK EDMOND (Edmond)                            PAUL BARTELS

BARBARA HUBBARD (Hubbard)                          MACEO WILLIAMS (Williams)

OWEN MONTAGUE (Montague)                            CHARIS JOHNSON (C Johnson)

One Vacant Appointment to the Board

RYAN JOHNSON (R Johnson)                                Atlanta City Council President’s Office

ALAN MORRIS (Morris)                                        

JOY MORRISSEY (Chair/Morrissey)                                  

SHARESE SHIELDS (Shields)                  

STAFF ATTENDEES

MARC ADDINGTON, Investigator (Addington); CRISTINA BEAMUD, Executive Director (Director/Beamud); SHEENA ROBERTSON, Investigator (Robertson); MYOLA SMITH, Administrative Analyst (Smith /Transcriber)

MEETING CALLED TO ORDER:

The meeting was called to order by the Chair at 12:04 PM.

A G E N D A

WELCOME AND INTRODUCTION:

The Chair opened the meeting explaining why a special meeting had to be called.  “Good afternoon, we called this meeting to speak with Chief Turner because we have cases that are outstanding in regards to a response from the Chief which is mandated by the City Ordinance.  The Ordinance states within thirty (30) days of the submission of a recommendation for action by the Board to the Chief of Police or Corrections, shall respond in writing regarding which recommendations are accepted, rejected, or will be implemented with modifications.” 

DISCUSSION OF COMPLETED ADJUDICATIONS SUBMITTED TO THE CHIEF OF POLICE WHICH DID NOT RESULT IN A RESPONSE WITHIN THE THIRTY (30) DAY PERIOD REQUIRED BY THE ORDINANCE:

Chair Morrissey indicated that a number of reminders were sent to Chief Turner regarding his lack of response.  “We have questions regarding the fact that the Chief is in defiance of the law if completed adjudications submitted to him have not been responded to within 30 days.”  The Chair then opened the floor for members of the Board to start the discussion and ask questions.  “I would like to turn our questioning session over to board member Edmond.”

DISCUSSION & COMMENTS

1. As a point of clarification with regard to the format, Edmond asked if the members would be able to have a dialog with the Chief and have him respond to specific questions.  Chair Morrissey answered, “We would like for Chief Turner to respond to specific questions as asked by the Board.  This is a very informal setting.  The reason we are holding the meeting today in the Council Chambers is because our regular meeting room was not available.  I would like for us to be informal more than formal.  ” 

It should be noted that Chief Turner took position at the guest podium to answer questions and to participate in the discussion.

2. Edmond thanked Chief Turner for attending the meeting and he said, “Just know this, we are about the business of carry out the rules and the law and that is basically it.  There is nothing personal about this meeting.  I have had the good fortune, as well as, Ms. Shields, Ms. Morrissey and Mr. Montague of being on the Board since its inception as it progressed through different administrations, different Police Chiefs and the like.  The fundamental concern is this; we have had a consistent problem with the Police Department complying with law.  It is not just your administration but also the previous administration.  When you came on board as the new Chief of Police, we saw that transition with optimism and hope thinking that things were going to be different, but they have not been.   Without getting into the specifics right now, I would like to ask is there a specific reason why the Department has not complied with the law.

Chief Turner Response:  “Let me start by saying, as I spoke with Ms. Beamud, I was asked about the thirty (30) day requirement in each case and that is all I am prepared to talk about.  The requirements that we were not in compliance within the thirty-days, we have since then delivered those files.  There are some issues that we have to be concerned about as they relate to the various codes and those concerns prevent us from responding as timely as we would want to.  I have three (3) objectives as it relates to the thirty days…I have to accept, reject or modify your recommendations.  What I will do, I will make sure that you have in your hand, prior to the thirty days on your finding, just that…a recommendation to accept, reject or modify the recommendations that you have made.  We will make sure that our Department will be in compliance with the code and every aspect of this code moving forward.” 

3. Edmond stated for the record, “Again, our job, as we have taken an oath and sworn to do, is to uphold this particular ordinance and we discussed it previously, but sometimes the sublime becomes ridicules and we are almost at that point right now.  We have discussed other options in terms of doing our jobs, enforcement and compliance with the law and we are probably at a stage where we are ready to go ahead with those options, if in fact, this non-compliance on the part of the Department, continues.  This is not a threat but it is a fact.   I want to be as transparent as possible and again, I do appreciate the fact that you came here today.”

Chief Turner Response:  “Here again, we are in full compliance with the ordinance, as I understand it, and as we speak, we will make sure that you will have our responses on a timely basis and you have one hundred percent (100%), my dedication to comply with the code as it stands.”

4. Chair Morrissey asked Director Beamud to provide an update on the cases that we know to be outstanding.  Beamud answered, “As of yesterday afternoon at about 3:30 p.m., Chief Turner responded to all cases that were over thirty (30) days old.   There are outstanding cases, but the thirty-day time has not elapse yet so they are not considered “late.”   The cases that we were going to talk about today were as old as April, 2010; however, that delay and that failure to respond happened yesterday.”

5. Chair Morrissey stated, “Chief to your credit, your office has managed to get those cases in compliance.  We really do appreciate that effort.  Going forward that would be something that you would need to work on to be in compliance with the law and to help this Citizen Review Board department get alone more favorably with your department than what has happened in the past; even though, some of that in the past was not under your watch which I totally understand.  At this time, I would like to turn the meeting over to other members of this board who may have questions for the Chief.”

6. Shields stated, “Chief Turner, I am Sharese Shields and I understand the Police Department is represented by Council today.  You have several attorneys here with you today and are they City attorneys from the City of Atlanta’s Law Department?”

Chief Turner Response:  “The attorneys that are present are members of the City of Atlanta Department of Law.”

7. Shields:  “I assume that is who you confer with whenever our recommendations might pose legal questions that you need to resolve in order to respond appropriately.”

Chief Turner Response:  “Yes.”

8. Shields:  “I merely wanted to get clarification.  You are represented by City Law Department members who are also members of the same department that represent the Atlanta Citizen Review Board.  We have been repeatedly addressing and making known our concerns about the fact that most of the time we are at odds with one another because we are an oversight agency and yet we are represented by the same attorneys that represent the very entity that we are at odds with and that is a problem.  I just wanted to clarify that indeed that was the case that you are represented by those attorneys here today.”

9. Montague:  “I would like to thank you also Chief for attending this meeting.  I would like to ask you, is there a procedure in place now or currently to handle and process these materials that we send to you?”

Chief Turner Response:  “Yes, there is a procedure in place.”

10.  Montague asked, “Is that a recent establishment of these procedures?” 

Chief Turner Response:  “Yes and No.  We have had some changes in our OPS office and we have a new Commander.  With every different Commander comes different management styles but there is a procedure in place that will monitor and hold people accountable according to the code that we are to abide by.”

11.  Chair Morrissey asked Chief Turner to explain what those procedures will be.

Chief Turner Response:  “Not at this time.  I can get that to you.”

12.  Chair Morrissey, “Thank you.  I think we would like to know what your procedures are;   our procedures are transparent and I think in the spirit of us working together, it would be important for us to be informed.”

Chief Turner Response:  “I would like to say that both Major Shields, my Chief of Staff and Major Dancy are present at your meeting.  I will, if you so choose, be at the meetings.  I could not get to the last meeting that you held, because I had a conflict and there was no way I could get there.  But let me say this, we are there and we will be able to share those responses and how we are managing them in those meetings.  At any given time that we can provide that information to the Executive Director, Ms. Beamud, on how we are doing that, we will provide it.”

13.  Chair Morrissey, “Thank you and do we have any other questions?” 

14.  Edmond to Chief Turner, “ I am looking at the time lines of communications and apparently, on November 19, 2010, there was a letter from the Board basically, addressing the same concerns we are talking about right now and we never got a response back from you.  I just want to ask you to represent that from hence forth that you are going to be more communicative with the Board.  If we had gotten some type of response from you, you would not have been here today.  Can you make that representation?”

Chief Turner Response:  “I have done that and I will continue to make sure that we are responsive on a timely basis once we receive our letters from you.”

15.  Edmond said, “I am not just talking about letters about the specific complaints, this letter (dated November 19th), in general, is about the lack of communication.  What I am trying to get at is to see, if we can agree to have a completely different spirit of communicating.  Instead, we are being required to do this (have a special meeting), and make phone calls when a letter in response to the November letter would have stopped all of this, and we would not have been here because you would have basically, said the same thing in an informal setting.  Frankly, in the spirit of what we are doing, it would be better that we did not have to go to such measures in order to try to communicate with each other.”

Chief Turner Response:  “It is my hope and desire to be very transparent.  I respond to many folks that have my number around the city.  I answer my phone and I do not understand what happen.   My Chief of Staff is very responsive.  We respond to citizens and anyone that will call our office.  I don’t know what happened, but I will assure you that any member of this board that calls me will receive a return phone call if I don’t answer right away.”

16.  Chair Morrissey, “Ms. Beamud do you have any questions?”  Beamud responded, “No.”  “Chief Turner, Thank you.” 

ADJOURNMENT:

The Chair entertained a motion to adjourn.  Edmond moved to adjourn.  The motion was seconded by Montague.  The meeting adjourned at 12:20 p.m.

Comments are closed.

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