I think it's great that we will now have two intown ranges. And safety concerns? Seriously?? How many criminals practice at a range? I hope the neighbors get some common sense. Best of luck to the owners.
If a few lawsuits encourage APD to make sure officers obey the law, it will not only protect the citizens of Atlanta but will also save those tax dollars you are concerned about.
The reason Atlanta has had to pay so much money over the past few years as a result of police misconduct is because the Atlanta Police Department gives officers little incentive to obey the law and imposes almost no discipline when they break it. Most officers follow the law simply because it's the right thing to do, but those who don't cost us all a lot of money.
You seem like a person who may not care much about our rights as Americans; OK, fair enough. But even you should appreciate this: If a few lawsuits can change the culture of the APD, it will save the taxpayers a tremendous amount of money in the long run. Prevention is always less expensive than a cure.
There is no law requiring people to carry ID (unless you are driving a car, of course) so it would be unlawful for a police officer to arrest someone "for not carrying ID." And wearing a dress and wig, darting across a street, and trying to flag down a passing car does not meet the definition of "disorderly conduct" under either state law (O.C.G.A. § 16-11-39) or the Atlanta City Code (Section 106-81).
Of course, there could be more to the story. But IF this is really all that happened, what is so humorous about an Atlanta police officer making an illegal arrest?
Given my very public status as a critic of the APD people often share their views and opinions with me, and residents of Zone 5 are almost unanimous in their praise of Major Khirus Williams. My own personal interaction with Major Williams suggested that he is a passionate and involved commander who cares deeply not only about preventing crime, but also about being responsive to the residents of his zone. The very fact that so many citizens and community leaders in Zone 5 know Major Williams personally and have strong feelings about him is evidence of his active involvement in the community. Many residents view Major Williams as their link to the APD, which is something the APD sorely needs and usually lacks. Although he can be somewhat prickly (and I can understand why he may inspire personality conflicts) I have never had reason to doubt Major Williams' sincerity, passion, or commitment. In fact, I respect him a great deal. By forcing him out the APD has sent an unfortunate message to other officers that the department cares more about "loyalty" and being a "team player" than about performance and a connection to the public they serve. Major Williams may have been somewhat intemperate in calling for citizens to complain directly to Chief Turner -- no commander wants his subordinates stirring up discord -- but that matter should have been handled by the Chief in a polite internal way that reflected respect for Major Williams' contributions and an understanding that his actions were motivated by a passion for what is best for his residents. As a frequent critic of of the APD, I will be the first to say that his retirement is a loss to the city.
Creative Loafing Atlanta
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