ATLANTA, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) — Three weeks after Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms created an Advisory Council to look into the Atlanta Police Department’s Use of Force policies, she issued three Administrative Orders to immediately begin revising them. She first announced plans to issue the orders in a press conference on June 15, 2020.
This comes after several police-involved shootings and incidents, which include the shooting death of Rayshard Brooks after falling asleep in his car in a Wendy’s drive-thru lane.
In a press release issued on June 25, 2020, Bottoms said the Use of Force Advisory Council provided its mandated 14-day recommendations as required in Administrative Order 2020-18. She said she acted upon three of the 10 early action recommendations, which focus on law and policy and other procedures.
According to the release, these are the three recommendations her administration adopted and acted upon, followed by a breakdown of each order:
- Commit to identifying policies to improve officer compliance and public transparency of captured body worn camera footage,
- Create a centralized repository for witness footage of use of force by officers, and
- Extend powers and community awareness of Atlanta Citizen Review Board (ACRB).
The first Administrative Order directs the Chief of Police to identify policies and procedural changes to further improve body worn camera compliance from the current level of 94%. The Order also directs the Atlanta Police Department (APD) to outline improvements to existing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to improve transparency and responsiveness to public requests for officer footage.
The second Administrative Order directs the Chief Information Officer to develop a platform that allows the public to submit recordings of use of force violations. The recordings will be incorporated into future use of force investigations, ensuring that public recordings are included with APD footage in decisions. Further, it directs the development of SOPs to outline the use of videos during investigations, retention policies on citizen submissions and providing access to the Atlanta Citizen Review Board for independent investigation.
The third Administrative Order directs the Chief of Staff and City Attorney to work with the ACRB to identify measures to further strengthen the organization. These measures include legislative, budgetary, and/or operational needs to begin a proactive review by ACRB of all deadly use of force cases. Mayor Bottoms also issued a letter to the Atlanta Citizen Review Board highlighting the importance of their independent perspective and critical role in maintaining accountability. ACRB received a $427,000 budget increase for FY2021 to support new staff, community outreach and resolution review.
Bottoms said her administration is conducting a legal and operational review of the remaining seven recommendations to determine the next steps.
To view the full Advisory Council report, click here. The council is expected to submit its 45-day recommendations in the coming weeks.