Copwatch and BLOCS Release Review Board Information To the Public

The Atlanta Citizen Review Board (ACRB) is charged with independently reviewing and investigating complaints against officers of the Atlanta Police Department and Atlanta Department of Corrections. The ACRB was revived in 2007 after Atlanta Police Department officers killed English Avenue grandmother Kathryn Johnston, as she lay in her bed. Since its revival, the Board has investigated dozens of complaints and has repeatedly urged APD to hold officers accountable for misconduct.

Under the leadership of former ACRB Executive Director Cristina Beamud, the board’s complaints and findings were made publicly available at http://acrbgov.org/. After Beamud’s departure last year, however, newly appointed ACRB Interim Executive Director Sharese Shields ordered that all ACRB findings be removed from the website. Shields states that information will be available to the public only upon the submission of open records requests and the payment of fees for labor and materials. Although it is clear that complainants were informed that their information would be made available to the public before filing complaints, Shields maintains that she removed the content to protect their identities.

During March’s board meeting, the ACRB decided that no old information would be restored to the website. They also voted to redact officer and complainant names from any content that might be posted to the website in the future.

Copwatch and BLOCS are committed to promoting accountability and transparency, even when our public servants refuse to do so. We are therefore releasing ACRB complaints and investigatory findings for 2009, 2010 and 2011 at http://www.copwatchoea.org/acrb. Cases are indexed by officer name and may be found in their original PDF format or as searchable text. "We see this as another attempt to keep the public in the dark about police misconduct, prejudice, and brutality.  When officers break the law, they should be publicly named," said Marlon Kautz of Copwatch.  "If the ACRB won't do it, we will."