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Mokah Jasmine Johnson poses for a portrait. Johnson ran for State House District 117 against Republican incumbent Houston Gaines. (Photo courtesy of Mokah Jasmine-Johnson’s campaign)

Dear Athens-Clarke County Chairman Mike Hamby and Government Operations Committee members,

We are writing to express our extreme frustration with the failure of the GOC to submit the Police Advisory Task Force recommendations to the Mayor and  commissioners prior to June 30 deadline set by Mayor Kelly Girtz.

For well over a year, Task Force co-chairs Athens-Clarke County Police Chaplain Shane Sims and Mokah Jasmine Johnson — along with several community members and stakeholders, including Police Chief Cleveland Spruill — worked together to create a set of recommendations that would help heal our community and improve police relations. This was a truly nonpartisan, community-driven effort to improve policing in the Athens area.

With the guidance and collaboration of the National Association of Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement (NACOLE), the Task Force finished their work and submitted their recommendations to the GOC for review in February 2021.

We believe that five months is far too long to have the Task Force recommendations languish in Committee.

To that end, we demand that:

In addition to the regularly scheduled August and September GOC meetings, a special session of the GOC should be called to make up for the two regularly scheduled GOC meetings that were cancelled (June and July) in order to finalize and submit the Task Force recommendations to the Mayor & Commission.

The budget should be amended to include a minimum of $250,000 for auditor/board operations.

The two co-chairs of the Police Advisory Task Force, Shane Sims and/or Mokah Jasmine Johnson, be participants in all future GOC meetings to share their knowledge regarding the recommendations.

The Police Advisory Task Force recommendations will be approved and sent to the Mayor and Commission before the end of September.

This is a critical moment in history to improve community relations and policing in Athens.

Please help our community move forward.

Sincerely yours,

Athens Anti-Discrimination Movement (AADM)