The Atlanta Citizen Review Board, created five years ago amid outrage after police killed a 92-year-old woman during a botched raid then tried to cover it up, is at a critical point in its rocky existence, reports the city’s Journal-Constitution. The board was given investigators, subpoena power and a mandate to provide a credible, independent and “safe and welcoming place” to bring complaints and accusations of misconduct and abuse by public safety officials. But the board is threatened by resistance from the police force, an apparent lack of interest from city government, internal board politics and a damaged public image.
The board is supposed to have 11 members appointed by neighborhood planning units, lawyers' groups, the City Council and the mayor. But it's been operating with only 10 members for the past seven months, awaiting a new appointee by the mayor. Strain on its members is showing more and more in meetings that sometimes disintegrate into name calling, the decision to hire and then not hire a former federal prosecutor as the ACRB's second executive director, and public complaints that the board seems too concerned with placating the police department and is sacrificing transparency.