- Associated Press - Saturday, March 26, 2016

ATLANTA (AP) - Atlanta’s Citizen Review Board is getting expanded authority to investigate complaints against police and corrections officers.

The city council recently gave the board new tools to investigate complaints, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (bit.ly/1pAwxxz) reported.

Among the biggest changes: Adding more types of cases the board can review. The newspaper reports that the board can now investigate and make disciplinary recommendations on allegations of discrimination, discriminatory references, abuse of authority, discourteous behavior and failing to provide identification.

In the past, the board only had authority in alleged cases of false arrest, false imprisonment, harassment, excessive force and abusive language.

Under the revised ordinance, residents for the first time also can make anonymous complaints to the board.

Councilman Ivory Lee Young, Jr., who sponsored revisions to the ordinance, said the expansion is an important protection.

“Misconduct is misconduct, and the ordinance should be drafted as broadly as possible,” Young said. “The Citizen Review Board seeks justice - not just for victims but for those accused.”

The review board was created in 2008, in the wake of Atlanta police officers shooting to death a 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston during a botched 2006 drug raid. Drugs were then planted in her home.

Subpoena power and a mandate to provide a credible, independent and “safe and welcoming place” to bring complaints, the police department upheld only 11 percent of the 34 cases in which the review board recommended that the officer be disciplined.

Mayor Kasim Reed will now be sent the revised ordinance for his signature. It appears Reed will sign the changes since managers from the police and corrections departments at the committee meeting last week.

Other changes include adding two board members, from the Atlanta Urban League and the Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda. A request to have the board member from the American Civil Liberties Union was rejected for fear that it would politicize the board.

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