Meeting Minutes – August 2012 Minutes

Published on 13 September 2012 by in Past Minutes

Facebook Twitter Linkedin Digg Delicious Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Posterous Email



55 Trinity Avenue, SW, Committee Room One

Atlanta, Georgia 30303

August 9, 2012 / 6:30 P.M.

(Eleven Members of the Board)


PAUL BARTELS (Chair/Bartels)                   
BILL BOZARTH (Bozarth)                            
WILLIAM HARRISON (Harrison)               





        Atlanta Business League (vacant 1 month)

        Office of the Mayor (New appointment confirmed; oath pending)



WILLIAM CASTING (Casting), City Law Department, Assigned Board Attorney;
SHEENA ROBERTSON (Robertson), Investigator;
MYOLA SMITH (Smith), Transcriber




The meeting was called to order by Chair Bartels at 6:30 p.m.  He welcomed citizens announcing Public Comments will be heard later into the agenda, and if anyone cared to speak, to please sign up.  Comments are limited to three (3) minutes per person.  The Chair also welcomed members of the Atlanta Police Department, Office of Internal Affairs: Major Elder Dancy and members of his staff.

The Chair reported that the Mayor had made an appointment to the board, Ms. Labariah Lee.  Ms. Lee has been confirmed by Council; however, she has not been sworn in by the City Clerk.  Chair Bartels said, “We are definitely looking forward to her being on the board.”



The Chair directed the board’s attention to minutes for July 12, 2012 meeting.  He opened the floor for corrections and a motion.

Referring to agenda topic “Discussion and Comments Regarding Raids,” Bozarth noted one correction in the discussion, item number 1), page six (6). 

Hearing no further corrections, Bozarth moved to accept the minutes with noted correction.  The motion was seconded by Williams.  No further discussion, the motion was approved by all.


Investigator Robertson addressed the Board regarding the request to dismiss Complaint #11-32.  She reported that on May 11, 2011, Ms. Latoria Scott filed a timely complaint with the ACRB alleging that on May 7, 2011, Atlanta Police Officers Wiggins and Reith falsely arrested and charged her with Simple Battery.  It is noted that at the time that Ms. Scott filed her complaint, the criminal case against her was still unresolved.  As a result, the Board suspended its investigation pending adjudication of her case.

According to Fulton County State Court records, on July 20, 2012, Ms. Scott’s case was placed in “dead-docket” status after attending on-going parental counseling sessions.  During April 2011, the board had a very detailed discussion concerning the issue of how to proceed with a citizen’s complaint where the allegation involves false arrest and their criminal case has been placed in dead-docket status by the courts.  The board decided that such complaints would be reviewed on a case-by-case basis as to whether or not to investigate or dismiss the complaint.  Prior to reaching this determination, the board stated that they would take into consideration: (1) the length of time the case has been under suspension, and (2) the reason as to why the court placed the case in dead docket status.

Robertson explained that “dead-docket” status is a procedural device by which the prosecution is postponed indefinitely but does not constitute a dismissal or termination of the case in the defendant’s favor.  “This particular incident occurred on May 6, 2011 and the case has been in a suspended status since May 11, 2011; well over a year and Ms. Scott’s case was just resolved two weeks ago.”  Given the board’s decision last year about these types of complaints, Robertson stated, “What I am basically asking the Board for is some direction on how to proceed with this case.”


1.      Bartels asked, “Were you able to find out why it was placed on dead-docket?  Robertson replied, “Because she is attending counseling which is still ongoing.”

2.      Bozarth asked how long the case had been on dead-docket and where was it before

3.      Robertson said, “It has been on dead-docket as of July 20th of this year.  It was an inactive case and court ordered counseling sessions were recommended.  Ms. Scott started counseling and brought in documentation proving that she had been attending, the status of the counseling and that the sessions were ongoing.  Therefore the Judge placed it on dead-docket status.”

4.      Williams asked how much longer the case could be on dead-docket since the counseling was on-going.

5.      In response, Bartels stated, “I use to work a lot in this Court system (Fulton County) and still do. That is where most of my cases are.  This is a misdemeanor domestic violence charge and typically, 99% of the time, if someone is charged with a misdemeanor domestic violence, and if they have no prior record, they are offered the chance to do counseling regardless of what the prosecutor thinks of the merit of the case. In other words, whether it is a strong case or weak case, they are still offered counseling in exchange for a dead-docket.  As a defense attorney, you usually accept it.  The program (counseling) is usually a six (6) month or twelve months program. The jest of what I just said is I don’t think we will ever know the strength of the evidence against her because this is a routine thing with the first arrest.”

6.      Robertson added some additional facts about the case indicating that this particular incident involves Ms. Scott’s eleven year old daughter whom she has had difficulty with in the past.  “She ran away before, she’s unruly and difficult to handle.  When she was attempting to run away again, Ms. Scott called 911.  When the police arrived, the officer said she saw Ms. Scott hit her daughter in the back of the head and she was arrested and charged with that.”

7.      Williams asked if the daughter was hit with an object or with her (mother) hand

8.      Robertson responded, “With the back of her hand.”

9.      Morris asked, “She was arrested and they charged her with simple battery?”  Robertson responded, “Yes.”

10.  Bartels stated, “I’m okay with going ahead with it. We would be deciding not whether she is guilty but whether there is probable cause.  I think it would be an interesting issue for the new director to do some research on.”

11.  Price said, “While I was at the Police Department, I put together the first family violence unit and it was our consensus that to lock people up for family violence was not the adequate thing to do because they really needed counseling.  We received a $500,000 grant for counseling.  If the family is already fighting, they got problems and locking them up is not helping.  Besides now they have to spend money to get their love ones out of jail are not helping.  Most of those people either went to counseling through DEFAC or the Neighborhood Justice Center.  It is evident that something is going wrong in that family and locking them up is not the best thing to do.”

12.  Bartels: “I guess the decision we have to make is whether to go ahead hearing the case or to dismiss it.” 

13.  Bozarth: “It seems the event that triggered this was prior to May 2011, because that is when she filed the complaint so when was the actual altercation witness by the officer?” 

14.  Robertson responded, “May 6, 2011.”

15.  Bozarth: “The thing that would concern me about letting it linger even longer is that it has been over a year since she filed the complaint.  I would say from our point of view that if it is worth dealing with, you certainly don’t want to wait these long periods of time unless there are really difficult circumstances.  I don’t know that the fact it is on dead-docket says to me that we should leave it alone for several months.”

16.  Bartels:  “It is a practical matter.  When it is dead-docket, it is gone. They are not going to prosecute.”

17.  Bozarth:  “Then my preference would be to ask our investigators to look into it to see if there is any merit.”

18.  Price: “The investigator has already done that.  She reported that the Mother did hit the child so there was probable cause for this person to be arrested.  It was sent over to the courts because it was deemed a family violence situation and it was dead-docket.  What gives us any right to go beyond what the courts have decided to do?”

19.  Bartels clarified, “The courts addresses what is going to be done in terms of criminal prosecution to the defendant; we are to decide whether we recommend the officer acted properly or improperly.”

20.  Price: “Based on the investigator, the officer had probable cause…the mother admitted hitting the child.”

21.  Robertson: “This is the issue.  She filed a false arrest complaint against the officers and because her case was still pending in the court, it was suspended.  We have not done an investigation.  The reason I am coming to you is based on what you decided last year regarding dead-docket cases.  The decision was made to handle dead-docket issues on a case-by-case basis.  Therefore, you need to decide whether to resume the investigation or dismiss the complaint.”

22.  Harrison:  “I think if a citizen comes to us and file a complaint, our job is to at least, investigate the complaint.  Whether it is dead-docket or not is not our doing.”

Following the discussion, it was moved by Harrison to move forward with the investigation of Complaint #11-32, Latoria Scott.  Williams seconded the motion.  Hearing no objection, the motion was approved.



Investigator Robertson addressed the Board regarding the request to dismiss Complaint #12-04.  She reported that on March 19, 2012, Linda Kemp filed a timely complaint with the ACRB.  Ms. Kemp alleges that on March 5, 2012, Atlanta Police Officer Eric Wheeler falsely arrested and charged her with Forgery in the 1st Degree.  It is noted that at the time, Ms. Kemp filed her complaint; the criminal case against her was still unresolved.  As a result, the Board suspended its investigation pending adjudication of her case.

According to the Fulton County Superior Court records, Ms. Kemp’s case was dismissed on April 11, 2012; the case was “Nol Pros.”  Nol Pros is a formal entry on the record that the prosecutor will not prosecute the case further, but it does not prevent the charge from being tried at a later date.  Since that time, numerous attempts have been made to schedule an interview with Ms. Kemp without success and she did not show for her scheduled April 30th interview.  Also, since that time, she has failed to respond to numerous messages left on her voicemail. 

On July 10, 2012, a letter was sent to Ms. Kemp, via certified mail, advising her to contact our office to re-schedule the interview and she was informed that failure to do so may result in the dismissal of her complaint.  As of today’s date, Ms. Kemp has failed to respond; therefore, staff is recommending that the case be dismissed.

Following the report, it was moved by Morris to accept staff’s recommendation to dismiss the complaint.  Price seconded the motion.  Hearing no discussion, the vote was called and the motion was passed unanimously.



Investigator Robertson reported on the number of complaints received for the month of July 2012.  Robertson reported that a total of nine (9) complaints were received for the month and they are listed as follows:

Complaint Number: 12-19, Michael Broadnax alleging Harassment

Staff recommends dismissal because the type of harassment alleged by Mr. Broadnax does not constitute harassment as defined by the City Ordinance.  The Ordinance defines harassment as the act of tormenting by continued persistent verbal or physical attacks.

Complaint Number: 12-20, Lorenzo Range alleging False Arrest

Staff recommends dismissal because the complaint involves allegation against a College Park Police Officer and is not within the Board’s jurisdiction.

Complaint Number: 12-21, Shelton Gresham alleging Service Complaint

Staff recommends dismissal because the complaint involves allegation against a College Park Police Officer and is not within the Board’s jurisdiction.

Complaint Number: 12-22, Duane Blocker alleging False Arrest

Staff recommends investigation as a false arrest allegation.

Complaint Number: 12-23, Howard Wright alleging False Arrest

Staff recommends investigation as a false arrest allegation.

Complaint Number: 12-24, Darrell Hinson alleging False Arrest

Staff recommends dismissal because the arrest occurred beyond the limitation period of 180 days as imposed by the City Ordinance.

Complaint Number: 12-25, Robert Kenneth Hollis alleging Poor Service

Staff recommends dismissal because it is not within the Board’s jurisdiction and the complaint is six (6) years old.

Complaint Number: 12-26, Carla Bashir alleging False Arrest

Staff recommends investigation if the criminal case is resolved in favor of Ms. Bashir.  The investigation will be suspended and will monitor her case for adjudication and disposition.

Complaint Number: 12-27, Robert Marks alleging False Arrest and Excessive Force

Mr. Marks was mailed a complaint form on July 31, 2011.  The investigation is pending the receipt of the signed complaint which is required by City Ordinance.

Reconsideration of complaint from JUNE 2012 INTAKE REPORT:

Complaint Number: 12-14, Andrea Garris alleging False Arrest

Ms. Andrea Garris alleges that on May 9, 2012, APD Officer Eric Wheeler falsely arrested her.  Preliminary investigation revealed that Ms. Garris’ case is still pending adjudication in the Fulton County State Court.

Staff recommends suspending the investigation pending the resolution of her criminal case.


1.      Regarding Cases #12-22 and 12-23, Williams indicated that the police officer in both complaints had previously been before the board.

2.      Robertson indicated that the complainant in case #12-22 had previously filed a complaint against the officer for two other similar arrests.  This is the third complaint against the same officer.

3.      Williams: “I was thinking about a year and a half or two years ago, a complaint was filed against this officer somewhere along Boulevard.”

4.      Bartels: “Yes, I also recall, if this is the same officer, there was a history of that and Ms. Beamud actually did a pattern of his arrest.”

5.      Robertson indicated that she would look into it.

6.      Morris:  “Question on intake #6, when was the complaint received?  It said the incident occurred on January 11th.”

7.      Robertson:  “It is 180 days from the day of the incident, not the day it was received and he just missed the deadline.”

8.      Williams noted a typo regarding the date the complaint form was mailed.  Robertson agreed and indicated that the date should reflect July 31, 2012 not 2011.

The Chair entertained a motion.  It was moved by Williams to accept the Intake report with noted correction.  Price seconded the motion.  Hearing no further discussion, the vote was called and the motion was passed unanimously.



Chair Bartels highlighted discussion points from the last meeting.  He said, “I know at the last meeting, at one point, we discussed if there was a question or issue regarding tactics that were used in raids; perhaps the new director could craft a procedure for discussing that.  Are there any additional comments to add to this discussion?”


1.       Price said, “I wasn’t here because I left early, but I read it the minutes and I was wondering if that (raids) come under our purview?  I remember seeing something about a SWAT team…that’s not the SWAT that was the Narcotics Unit.  I really think their policies are not well defined all the time because each raid is different, but I see nothing wrong with seven people going to house where drugs are involved. I don’t believe the Police Chief will define it either as to how many people can go out on a raid to a house because you just don’t know what is going to go on when you enter someone’s house.    Raids are individual and the Captain or Sergeant is in charge and I don’t think you need to touch that.  In this particular case, I believe a Sergeant was in charge and just because you didn’t come out with a whole lot of drugs does not mean seven people were not needed.”

2.      Bozarth, “Mr. Chairman, I’ll remind you that a motion was made and was voted on unanimously that you would write a follow-up letter and I was wondering why that was not written in the past 30 days.”

3.      In response, Smith said, “You (Bozarth) and I had a conversation several days ago about the letter and if you look at the minutes, I highlighted a portion of the discussion about the letter from the last meeting. There was an apparent miscommunication about who was supposed to write the letter.  In the minutes, you initially mentioned that staff and Chair should do it, then, you specifically asked the Chair to write it.  When we had our telephone conversation, I informed you that he Chair was going out of town.  In fact, the same day that we spoke on the phone, Paul (Bartels) went out of town, for a week, the next day.  Also by that time, Chief Turner had responded to the adjudication letter that we sent to him dated July 2nd pertaining to the same case.  No, it did not address the specifics that you talked about because he was responding to the initial letter not the supplemental letter that you requested at the previous meeting.”

4.      Bozarth said, “I offered to help write the response but the essence of the response was in the motion and Ms. Price, just so that you know what I said, the minutes recorded it but let me repeat what I brought up to the board to discuss around this.  In a case like this, I don’t believe the officers should be held accountable for being out of line on this.  The only question is did they really give enough time for the woman to come from the back of the house to the front before breaking down the door? We really didn’t get a chance to go into this.”

5.      Price, “I did at the meeting.  You may not have been there.” 

6.      Bozarth asked Price if she was referring to the last meeting. Price stated, “Not the last meeting but the meeting before.  Maceo (Williams) asked the question and it was brought up that the officers identified themselves as police and went on into the house and found there was only one person in the house and that was the lady.  They were looking for her son.  I was asked the question, ‘How long should an officer wait after identifying that he is a cop before kicking in the door?’  I answered him and said that was a discretionary thing and a lot of things the police do is discretionary.  You can’t tell me to wait ten minutes or fifteen because the only reason why you are going to rush in there is because you don’t know if the enemy is going to shoot you or destroy the contraband.”

7.      Bozarth: “That would be a different issue, Ms. Price.  We agreed that the officers would be exonerated and there was no argument about that.  The point I made is this was seemingly a small time offender who had been charged with possession of marijuana or small amounts of cocaine.  The question I wanted to ask the Chief is pertained to his rationale for putting such a large show of force together for that kind of offense because the reason there was a complaint in the first place was because of the large show of force.  The question is was that appropriate for this kind of offense? I think that is a valid thing for this board to raise.”

8.      Bartels said, “I think we need to draw a distinction between making recommendations in terms of whether a complaint is exonerated or sustained or not sustained verses making a recommendation or asking for information.  We are not authorized by the ordinance .to say the tactics used here are questionable…that is not what we are here to do.  The proposal is, in some cases, if we try to get more information, we can make a recommendation.  I think we need to keep that distinction in mind.”

9.      Harrison said, “My understanding of the Board is that we can look into policies and procedures of APD and check to see, if for some reason, they are unsafe or unfavorable.  At the last meeting, we have already decided to write the letter.  I suggest that we go over what we want that letter to say and move forward.  Bill (Bozarth) what was that letter supposed to be about?”

10.  Bozarth said, “We made the motion at the last meeting, it was voted on and passed.  It is in the minutes.  It is a done deal.”

11.  Harrison asked, “I know but are we still going to move forward with it?”

12.  Bozarth answered, “Unless someone makes a motion to rescind the motion made a month ago.”

13.  Bartels stated, “It still has to be done.”

14.  For clarity, Smith asked, “We agreed, as we did before, to write the supplemental letter.  Now can we be as clear about who is supposed to write it?”

15.  Bartels answered, “I can consult with you tomorrow or next week about the letter and we can move on it.  Just to clarify, my area of concern is there certainly are times when a No Knock raid or busting down the door is appropriate.  If somebody does not come to the door within a reasonable length of time that is one but for me personally, anytime a No-Knock is done, it dangerous for everybody.  In this case, this is a little bit different.  It was a knock, then they waited, so I guess ‘forced entry; would be better.”

16.  Price asked, “Do we have a copy of the rules and regulations and policies of the Police Department?  If they are upstairs, some of us need to go and get a copy of them and read what you are trying to make recommendations on.”

17.  Smith asked, “Okay, we are going to get some guidance on this letter and no more miscommunication, right?”

18.  Bartels, “You will get guidance.”

19.  Morris, “Paul (Bartels) is going to write the letter.”

20.  Bartels, “I’m going to write the letter.”

21.  Morris, “What’s unclear about that?”

22.  Bozarth, “Just to make it clear, Ms. Price, I respect your point of view and had you been here and debated, I might have felt otherwise.  I feel pretty strongly that this Board has every right, as part of our obligation to the community, to question policy on certain occasions.  You may not agree with me, but that was my recommendation.  Let’s agree to disagree.”

23.  Price, “You don’t think a lot of this is we all have not been trained and have not read some of the material in the office.  I really don’t see anything in our By-laws that give us the right to worry about raids.  I have not had my training yet as a board member, but my police training comes from 27 on the force.  You haven’t had training and I don’t know who else hasn’t been trained; but I think if we got trained on some of these things, we would understand why and we would know that police officers will have about 95% of discretionary provisions that they stand on.  I want you to read into stuff.”


The Chair reported that the new Executive Director, Mr. Samuel Lee Reid submitted an acceptance letter and a copy of which was included in the Board’s information packet.  Other related documents, i.e., Letter of Offer to Mr. Reid, background investigation, drug screening, etc. were passed around for each member to review.  Mr. Reid is scheduled to start August 22nd.  It should be noted that the board was allowed time to review the documents and ask questions.


1.      Bozarth asked if there was any further action to be taken by the Board regarding the new Executive Director.

2.      Smith said, “Based on the information before you, if the Board pleases, you may want to take a vote for the record acknowledging receipt and approval of this information.”

3.      Bozart stated, “Before I came on board, I assume a salary, etc. was determined.”

4.      Smith responded, “Mr. Reid’s offer is similar to the offer made to the previous Executive Director.  If you look at the Letter of Offer, Mr. Reid was offered and he has accepted, a salary $103,000; however, he had asked for $104,000.  The position is a grade level 41 but basically, the budget for each individual department drives, for the most part, the maximum amount that you can pay that person.  Another department can have the same grade level but if they desire, can pay a lot more…as much as $116,000 because they have more funding.  Our budget is the size of the invoices paid by other departments.”

5.      Bartels, “And that was worked out with Ms. Shields when you all were doing the budget.” 

6.      Smith responded, “Yes that is correct and also, our budget analyst was working with us.  The City’s Department of Finance appoints a Budget Analyst to each department and this person works with the department throughout the fiscal year.  When we were preparing the FY 13 budget, we lobbied to get more money for the position so that our salary would be competitive, but the Finance Department, through our budget analyst, informed us that the most we could pay a new person coming is $103,000.”

7.      Williams asked, “Since we are on this topic and got this break, can we talk about what Ms. Price suggested about us getting paid a stipend?”

8.      Price, “I didn’t discuss that with nobody but you and I see a lot of things I would like to change, but I will wait until the time is appropriate.”

9.      Bozarth, “Will he (Mr. Reid) start on the 22nd?”  Smith responded, “Yes that is the official start date.”  Bozarth asked, “Are we contemplating anything for us to see him before the next board meeting?”

10.  Bartels, “I did talk with him a couple of weeks ago, as the offer letter was going out and he is very dedicated to meeting with us, not necessarily, at the next scheduled meeting but he wants to reach out and meet with any board members who wants to talk with him right after he starts.”

11.  Bozarth, “Can we just call the office and set something up with him?”  The Chair responded, “Sure.”

Following the discussion, the Chair entertained a motion.

It was moved by Williams to accept all documents provided as they relate to the hiring of Samuel Lee Reid.  The motion was seconded by Bozarth.  Hearing no further discussion, the vote was called and the motion was passed unanimously.



National Night Out Event

Smith reported.  She said, “National Night Out is an event held all across the country.  In Atlanta, several communities participated.  ACRB chose to partner with the English Avenue—Vine City communities because this would be our first real community event and it was in the same community where Ms. Kathryn Johnson was shot and killed giving rise to this board being established. 

The event was well planned, with lots of food and heavily supported by the community.  There was lots of participation from not only the community, but many other organizations including APD.  “We would like to thank board members: Bill Harrison and Charis Johnson for stopping by and supporting the event.  Our Community Outreach liaison, Sandra Walker set-up a display table with handouts i.e., water, balloons, fans and bookmarks.  We also had a large professional exhibit displaying our logo and information about the board and areas of complaints we can investigate.  The exhibit was used as a back-drop for photos taken with board members, community leaders, and educational and political leaders.  Ms. Walker and the ACRB staff wore bright ACRB tee shirts.  Additional shirts are available for each member to wear at future events.”

Other Comments…

Price stated, “Now that we are beginning all over again, more or less to say, we have an opportunity to do some things with the By-laws.  We can take some away, add and drop some, but I’m sure we are going to wait on the new Executive Director.” 

She also indicated that she would like for the Board to consider a paying a stipend.  “I think we should ask for some pay.  Last month and the month before, I drove down here many times for meetings because we were trying to find a new Executive Director.  I sit on the Taxicab Board and we are paid $25.00 a month.  We could pay our board the same amount, $25.00 because I don’t think it will hurt our budget.” 

Another concern was the amount of time the monthly meetings take.  She said, “I think we should not stay in these meeting more than two hours.  If something comes up and it is obvious that there is going to be a long discussion requiring a lot of time, I think the matter should be tabled and placed on the next agenda.”

Price also mentioned that she would like for the board to have a working retreat.  She said, “We can sit aside a Saturday or whatever, but I think this is one of those things that will help us come back together as a board.  When I first started, there was a lot of hostility.  I don’t feel it now so much as I had over the past eight months, but we need to learn to communicate without taking everything so personal.”

Regarding the stipend, Williams indicated that he agreed with Price.  He said, “This is the most crucial of all the boards that the City has and if other boards get paid for their service, I think we should also be paid at least $30.00.”

Price said, “I think that is appropriate and probably could have been done before, if someone had asked.”

Chair Bartels said, “Those are all good points for us to consider.”  Regarding the meetings, he said, “The two hours limit is something that I always try to stick to.  I agree with that.”



Chair Bartels opened the floor for public comments; however, no one signed up to speak.


Chair Bartels entertained a motion to adjourn. Morris moved to adjourn the meeting. 

The meeting adjourned at 7:25 p.m.

Leave a Reply