by Robin Kemp

The day after a Clayton County Police officer drew a gun on five Jonesboro teens while responding to a call that they were armed, several activists met with Police Chief Kevin Roberts to demand changes in how CCPD enforces the law. Among those present was Eric Bell II of Clayton County Young Democrats.

The response that CCPD issued is titled “CCPD’s Response to Young Dem’s Demands.” The activists’ demands below have been recast in italics to distinguish them from CCPD’s responses.


“In response to the inquiry regarding the demands provided by concerned
political groups, Clayton County Police Department offers the following:

“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 –

“Our policies and procedures are under constant review and amendment. The Clayton County Police Department is an accredited law enforcement agency, whose policies and procedures are also under review by our accreditor to ensure the actions taken by the men and women employed
by this agency are professional, legal, ethical, and regulated.

An elected Citizens Review Board that independently investigates alleged misconduct by law 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 –

“In order to give this concern a fair and appropriate response, this discussion would have to be held with the collaborative law
enforcement body (all of the law enforcement department heads) in Clayton County and not just the Chief of the Clayton County Police Department.

“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 –

“This concern would be best addressed by the Clayton County Board of Education for discussion.

Decriminalization of marijuana in the remaining six cities 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 –

“This request would have to be addressed by the legislative body and is beyond the scope of authority of the Clayton County Police Department.

The adoption of “8 Can’t Wait” use-of-force policies to reduce police violence –

“See Below

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 –

“What is the specific meaning of the word “adoption” as it pertains to this request?

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

Banning chokeholds –

“This is already addressed in our Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), which is public record.

Requiring police to use de-escalation techniques –

“This is already addressed in our Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), which is public record.

Require police to warn suspects before shooting –

“This has the potential to interfere with the ability to conduct our duties effectively for the purpose of maintaining safety in our communities. Where practical, our officers warn people they come in contact with, that they are about to receive bodily harm if they do not comply, however, to require officers in every situation to warn before any force is applied, is unreasonable.

Require officers to use all other options before shooting –

“This has the potential to interfere with the ability to conduct our duties effectively for the purpose of maintaining safety in our communities. Where practical, our officers warn people they come in contact with
that they are about to receive bodily harm if they do not comply, however, to require officers in every situation to warn before any force is applied, is unreasonable.

Implement a duty to intervene policy, requiring officers to act if another officer is using inappropriate force –

“This is already addressed in our Standard Operating Procedures
(SOP), which is public record.

“Ban police shooting at moving vehicles –

“This is already addressed in our Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), which is public record.

Require a use of force continuum –

“The use of force continuum would not be practical as it does not offer the opportunity for fair response and compliance to lawful commands offered by our officers. It is the duty of our officers to gain compliance with the least amount of reasonable force necessary; this level of force is situational and cannot be defined by a force continuum.

Require officers to report their own use of force or threats to use force –

“This is already addressed in our Standard Operating Procedures (SOP).
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 Crescent has asked Bell for comment on CCPD’s written response.

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