East Point police chief’s abrupt resignation raises question of cause

Former East Point police Chief Woodrow Blue, who resigned abruptly last month, will receive three months of salary plus payment for unused vacation and personal leave.

An agreement he signed with the interim city manager also says neither party will say anything negative about the other.

A lawyer for a man killed after being shocked by East Point police said the resignation raises concerns that Blue was forced out because he was too forthright about the circumstance surrounding the death of Gregory Lewis Towns Jr.

Blue and interim city manager Ellis Mitchell both signed the document on Sunday, Aug. 17, just a few weeks after an attorney for Towns’ family notified the city of their intent to sue on behalf of the dead man’s 7-month-old son.

“It came as a big shock to us,” attorney Chris Stewart said last week of Blue’s unexpected resignation. “He was very transparent about what was going on. For him to resign was a big question mark for us.”

Blue has not responded to several messages left at his home since he left the position. Neither Mitchell nor the city’s spokeswoman responded to emails and telephone calls seeking comment Tuesday.

According to a document entitled “resignation terms” that was obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Channel Two Action News, Blue’s separation would be listed as because of personal reasons rather than terminated for cause. Blue also agreed not to sue East Point.

Police were called on April 11 after Towns’ girlfriend had called 911 to report a domestic dispute. Towns was leaving the property of the townhome complex when police arrived and he ran. He was caught less than a mile away after he tripped because his pants fell down, according to the internal investigation report, which Blue ordered.

The report as well as statements written by the two officers and others cops involved that day, say former Cpl. Howard Weems and former Sgt. Marcus Eberhart violated policy when they used their Tasers to prod Towns when he would not stand up and asked for time to rest. One of those times, Towns was in a creek.

Almost immediately after Towns’ death, Blue fired Weems, who is appealing his dismissal. And Eberhart resigned in lieu of termination. Blue also asked the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to review the circumstances of Towns’ death, which has been classified a homicide.

The GBI’s findings have not been made public but the internal investigation cleared three officers of wrong doing but found Weems and Eberhart for violating departmental policies.

The GBI’s report as well as the internal affairs report have been given to Fulton District Attorney Paul Howard to decide if his office will present the case to a grand jury for possible criminal charges. Howard has not made a decision.

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