Last month, the Atlanta Citizen Review Board's executive director, Cristina Beamud, resigned from the position, fed up with the APD's history of reluctance to cooperate with the board's investigations and its refusal to act upon board recommendations for officer discipline. Beamud's been at the body's helm since it was reformed in 2007 — following the officer-involved shooting death of 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston in her Neal Street home — and was tasked with independently investigating citizen complaints of officer misconduct.
As CL reported in February, during 2009 and 2010, police Chief George Turner didn't agree with any of the board's findings — unless the board found that the officer hadn't done anything wrong. As the city hunts for Beamud's replacement, Turner and representatives from local police organizations have reiterated that they want the board to have even fewer teeth, changing its structure to an "audit model." This means the board wouldn't field complaints or conduct its own investigations; it would just review Office of Professional Standards investigations and decide whether or not they agree. Given this, here's how we think the city's job posting should read:
Atlanta Citizen Review Board: Executive Director
ABOUT THE JOB
The City of Atlanta is seeking a dynamic, uncompromising individual who is simultaneously willing to constantly compromise when reviewing Atlanta Police Department investigations of officer misconduct on behalf of Atlanta's Citizen Review Board. Since 2008, the Atlanta Citizen Review Board has been submitting recommendations for officer discipline so those recommendations can be ignored by people who know much better than you or your civilian charges ever will. Join us and take pride in becoming a brick in the city-created façade of police accountability!
The position includes the following duties and responsibilities:
• Peruse/scan APD misconduct investigations (mostly for grammatical errors, thanks).
• Present said investigations to a carefully picked board of wisely selected, knowledgeable, police-friendly citizen board members.
• Ensure the board members understand that the police are usually — and by "usually" we mean "always" — right.
• Basic housekeeping, i.e., keeping the restrooms in the CRB's headquarters clean and stocked with the necessary hygienic items.
• Must be a practicing attorney with good negotiation skills and experience in police oversight.
• A thick skull. Not in the metaphorical sense, but, like, actually. Must be accustomed/willing to bang one's head against the wall.
• Agrees with the police that an "audit model" really is the most effective way to achieve citizen oversight.
• Agrees with the police, pretty much in general.
• Oversee a staff of investigators (subject to change) and an 11-member board.
• Assist in coaching 11-member board in board meeting process. (It's been an issue.)
• Reinforce to board members the importance of smiling whilst nodding.
• Be sure to smile and nod yourself.
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