by Robin Kemp

The Clayton County Young Democrats, led by Eric Bell II, has issued a list of six demands for police reform in Clayton County. The list is signed by CCYD, “other local organizations and concerned citizens.”

Bell, PROOF, and Tired Movement are holding a protest against CCPD at the Board of Commissioners office at 112 Smith Street at 5 p.m. Wednesday. The demonstration comes after a CCPD officer, responding to a call of teenagers with a gun, pointed his service weapon at the teens as nearby residents shot cell phone video. The teens were searched and found not to be armed but admitted to having tossed a BB gun in some nearby woods. The officer turned the teens over to their parents.

The changes the group wants to see include:

  • A review of all standard operating procedures and policies, with an emphasis on police de-escalation training requirements and use of force
  • An elected Citizens Review Board that independently investigates alleged misconduct by aw enforcement in the Clayton County Police Department (CCPD), Clayton County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO), and each of Clayton County’s seven cities, and that operates independently of the courts or other law enforcement agencies
  • An elected Student, Alumni, Parent, Teacher Review Board that independently investigates alleged misconduct by Clayton County School Police (CCSP), reports directly to the board and operates independently of the courts and other law enforcement agencies
  • Decriminalization of marijuana in the remaining six cities (besides Forest Park) and the county at large to make it a non-arrestable offense for possession (of) less than an ounce, subject to a fine of no more than $75
  • The adoption of “8 Can’t Wait” use-of-force policies to reduce police violence
  • The adoption of the 21st Century Policing Blueprint, a guide to help agencies promote effective crime reduction, building public trust and safeguard officers’ well-being

The “8 Can’t Wait” program includes eight demands:

  • Banning chokeholds
  • Requiring police to use de-escalation techniques
  • Require police to warn suspects before shooting
  • Require officers to use all other options before shooting
  • Implement a duty to intervene policy, requiring officers to act if another officer is using inappropriate force
  • Ban police shooting at moving vehicles
  • Require a use of force continuum
  • Require officers to report their own use of force or threats to use force

The 21st Century Policing Blueprint is a project of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), which call the plan “Policing strategies as best practices designed to help agencies promote effective crime reduction while building public trust and safeguarding officer well-being.”

The Clayton County Police Department lists its mission, vision and goals on its website. It also has posted its 2019-2022 Strategic Plan online. CCPD says its vision is “dedicated to establishing safer communities by building trust and confidence through professionalism and collaborations.” It also requires officers to “treat each other and the community with respect” and to “service the community as you would want a family member to be serviced.”

The Clayton Crescent has forwarded a copy of the demands to CCPD, asking which of the policies, if any, the department already has in place.

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