Atlanta City Council Approves Public Safety Reform Legislation

The Atlanta City Council approved several items aimed at reforming public safety during Monday’s remote Council meeting that continued into Tuesday.

The Council approved legislation to adopt the “8 Can’t Wait” principles and amend the Atlanta Police Department’s standard operating procedures to incorporate use of force alternatives (Legislative Reference No. 20-O-1449). The “8 Can’t Wait” platform is part of Campaign Zero, a police reform initiative. The reforms in the legislation aim to improve community interactions with the police and reduce the number of violent encounters through the following principles: • Banning chokeholds and strangleholds

• Requiring de-escalation strategies

• Requiring a warning before shooting

• Exhausting all alternatives before shooting

• Duty to intervene (from other officers)

• Banning shooting at moving vehicles

• Requiring use of force continuum

• Requiring comprehensive reporting involving use of force against civilians.

The Council also approved legislation that will add two members from youth-serving organizations to the Atlanta Citizen Review Board and expand the board’s investigative authority (Legislative Reference No. 20-O-1445).

Other items approved during the meeting include:

• An ordinance to designate Juneteenth as a City paid holiday (Legislative Reference No. 20-O-1454).

• A resolution approving a deployment plan for funds allocated for rental assistance through the consumer grant program in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (Legislative Reference No. 20-R-4067).

• A resolution to create a participatory engagement process with the community to select a street where a permanent “Black Lives Matter” mural can be installed in Atlanta (Legislative Reference No. 20-R-4061).

• An ordinance to provide a one-year application fee waiver for right-of-way dining permits (Legislative Reference No. 20-O-1366). The legislation is aimed at promoting social distancing and providing financial relief to restaurant owners.

• An ordinance ratifying Executive Order 2020-106, ordering the implementation of a process by which City of Atlanta boards, authorities, commissions, committees, or other similar bodies may begin remote meetings in accordance with the Georgia Open Meetings Act (Legislative Reference No. 20-O-1455). The Council immediately adopted the following personal papers:

• A resolution to establish guidelines for receiving and accepting public comment for all remote meetings of the Council and remote meetings of the standing committees of the Council. The legislation outlines that remarks from the public for all remote meetings of the Council and standing committees will be accepted between 4-7 p.m. on the day before the scheduled meeting. The Council heard 1,251 public comments during this week’s full council meeting, totaling approximately 18 hours.

• A resolution authorizing the mayor or her designee to enter into Amendment No. 1 of an emergency procurement agreement with FG Management LLC for temporary housing for high-risk unsheltered people experiencing homelessness due to the COVID-19 pandemic in order to extend the term of the agreement on a month-to-month basis beginning Aug. 31, 2020 through Dec. 31, 2020 and to add additional funding in an amount not to exceed $3 million. Several items were also introduced to be considered in committee next week, including:

• An ordinance authorizing the chief financial officer to amend the Fiscal Year 2021 general fund budget to transfer $73.3 million from various departments in the general fund to a trust fund account to grant time for the Council to receive the report on “recommendations for systemic changes, reinventing the culture of operations in our city and being a model for cities across the nation” authorized by 20-R-4068 and allowing the chief financial officer to create the appropriate trust fund account necessary for such actions.

• An ordinance to amend the City’s charter to add the Atlanta Citizen Review Board as a charter-mandated board.

• An ordinance authorizing the Atlanta Police Department, Department of Finance, and Mayor’s Office of Constituent Services to conduct a study on expanding the Atlanta Police Department to include a crisis intervention division or other specialized unit as a social service component of the police department.

• A resolution supporting a study to be conducted by the People’s Uprising Taskforce examining opportunities to expand the City of Atlanta’s workforce through the development of a comprehensive workforce development program to identify and create middle-wage jobs for residents in underserved, low-income communities.

• An ordinance requiring the Atlanta Police Department provide information and cooperate with the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office as necessary to facilitate, improve the efficiency, and enhance the transparency of investigations involving officer involved shootings, incidents of serious bodily injury, and accusations of sexual misconduct.

• A resolution requesting the Atlanta Police Department explore alternative non-lethal methods of crowd control and consider utilizing a malodorant chemical compound (stink bomb), wrapping apparatus, laser dazzler, or other methods available.

• A resolution requesting that the mayor or her designee create a process to apply for and to receive temporary alcoholic beverage licenses during the COVID-19 city emergency.


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