An Atlanta police officer should lose three days’ pay for strip-searching a college student who had alleged an earlier beating by his partner, a citizen oversight panel said Thursday. The Atlanta Citizen Review Board said it could not corroborate charges of misconduct in the earlier incident, which left the student with two fractured bones in his face. Police said the student reached for an officer’s gun, but board member Rod Edmond wasn’t buying it: “I believe in my heart of hearts these boys got the crap kicked out of them.”
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.