Johns Creek resident says police complaint on race is being mishandled

Angie Jones and a friend claim the department closed the investigation without their agreement. Johns Creek Police officials said the officer, who was reprimanded, was “talking politics” with the women and did not violate any police policies. JOHN AMIS FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION
Angie Jones and a friend claim the department closed the investigation without their agreement. Johns Creek Police officials said the officer, who was reprimanded, was “talking politics” with the women and did not violate any police policies. JOHN AMIS FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION

Credit: John Amis

Credit: John Amis

A Johns Creek woman is accusing police of trying to cover up a complaint filed two years ago that claimed a police officer engaged in a racist conversation with her and two friends at a local festival.

Angie Jones and a friend claim the department closed the investigation without their agreement. Johns Creek Police officials said the officer, who was reprimanded, was “talking politics” with the women and did not violate any police policies.

The complaint was discussed during a city forum on race in July. Since that time, city officials have had conflicting responses in how the complaint was handled and how it is being managed now.

On Tuesday, city spokesman Bob Mullen said the city plans to review and address the women’s concerns.

Jones believes the actual complaint form was altered to show the women agreed with the investigation so it wouldn’t contribute to controversial race relations between Johns Creek police and the community.

The police department is dealing with public criticism following a police officer’s fatal shooting of a woman armed with a knife in 2018, and the negative comments about the Black Lives Matter movement posted on social media by Police Chief Chris Byers, who is under suspension for a separate issue. Minority residents have also spoken out about unfair treatment when stopped by police in Johns Creek.

At issue is the 2018 complaint from Jones and Lisa Chasin. The women, who were with another friend, Amy Giusto, at the Johns Creek International Festival said Officer Madhusudana Meberg engaged them in an uncomfortable conversation about race. The women, who were registering people to vote, said Meberg said homeless people are paid $50 to vote illegally on Election Day and he had witnessed it while working in Atlanta. The women wrote in their complaint that the officer referred to the homeless as “those people” and solely Black people.

Both Jones and Chasin said in their complaint that they viewed his remarks as racist. Jones said the more the officer spoke, the more agitated he became.

“He is not someone that I would want to encounter if I was either African American or homeless,” Chasin wrote. “He was inappropriate speaking to us this way, especially while in uniform.”

The women say the official complaint says they agreed to close the investigation which they would never have done.

“I told [the police major] that if someone had followed up with me and they said ‘Based on this paper, we don’t see racism,’ that would be a problem,” Jones said. “I would’ve said, ‘Where do I go next? Where do I go above you?”

Jones said in July, an officer reviewing the case noticed the complaint form indicated she and Chasin had not been notified about the outcome of the investigation and apologized for the breach in protocol. She was later told the investigation was closed.

“I have no confidence in our police department’s ongoing handing of this small complaint,” said Jones in her letter to Johns Creek officials. “How can anyone have confidence that our police department would handle a true case of police brutality given the way this complaint has been handled?”

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