Atlanta police inexplicably waited nine days to question a key witness to officers’ misconduct in the 2006 killing of 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston, according to a new investigative report. Instead, they put on a full-court press to track down an informant who corrupt officers wanted to use as their alibi. Cris Beamud, director of a city oversight panel created after the Johnston shooting, says police should find out why it took so long.
A citizen oversight panel could learn today whether it may compel Atlanta police officers to appear to answer investigators’ questions. The Atlanta Citizen Review Board, at the instigation of member Rod Edmond, may file suit to force officers to cooperate if it does not get subpoena power. Maybe even if it does. UPDATE: On a 13-1 vote, the City Council today granted the board subpoena power and require the police chief to discipline officers who won’t cooperate with it.
Atlanta Police Chief Richard Pennington undercut an oversight board by refusing to discipline uncooperative officers, the board’s chairman complained Thursday. Pennington had promised to penalize employees who don’t cooperate with the Citizen Review Board, but Pennington’s directive only calls for discipline if an officer doesn’t show up when the board asks them to. Many officers have been appearing with an attorney but refusing to answer questions.