Atlanta council votes to ensure younger adults on police review board

A protestor chants during a peaceful protest march from Cleopas Park to Atlanta City Hall, Sunday, June 7, 2020. (ALYSSA POINTER / ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM)
A protestor chants during a peaceful protest march from Cleopas Park to Atlanta City Hall, Sunday, June 7, 2020. (ALYSSA POINTER / ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM)

The Atlanta City Council this week approved a change in the city charter that will help add the voices of two people between the ages of 18-30 to the city’s Citizen Review Board, which hears complaints against Atlanta Police Officers and makes non-binding recommendations to the department about potential discipline.

According to the legislation, the amendment will ensure that the board is representative of those whose voices have been traditionally ignored.

The change is one of many reforms the city has pursued in the aftermath of the civil unrest over police brutality in the summer of 2020.

In July, the council expanded the board’s power so that members could compel the police chief to personally appear before the body if the chief rejected the board’s findings.

The charter amendment that the council unanimously approved Monday grants the Atlanta University Center Consortium, Inc. and the Street Smart Youth Project, Inc. the authority to each appoint a board member between the age of 18 and 30.

“The voices and participation of younger Atlanta residents have not been represented among the diverse membership of the board and has been a concern raised by the younger generation and elected officials,” according to the ordinance amending the charter. “The addition of the members of the younger generation will ensure that more voices are heard and represented in the work of civilian oversight.”

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