Published on August 15th, 2016 |0
Mayor names transgender advocate Tracee McDaniel to Citizens Review Board
The action came within days of the mayor meeting with representatives of a group that has been protesting Atlanta Police officers’ shooting of members of the city’s African-American community and following shootings aimed at minorities across the country.
The Atlanta Citizen Review Board was designed to provide citizen oversight any time there’s an accusation of misconduct against sworn members of Atlanta’s police or corrections departments.
Mayor Reed spoke about his decision Thursday during a rare appearance at a meeting of the board. One of the seats on the Atlanta Citizen Review Board—the one appointed by the mayor— has been vacant for more than three years.
The board has expressed concern recently that Atlanta Police Chief George Turner has only upheld its recommendations 25 percent of the time.
“I think one of the things we can do better in my office is stronger monitoring of the decisions that are set forth from this body, and I think that would probably influence the police chief’s position on those matters,” said Mayor Reed. “It’s always important to have minority voices that are particularly targeted in the city of Atlanta in a disproportionate fashion.”
The mayor pledged to be more involved in a group he considers to be independent guardians of officer interactions with citizens. “I just wanted you to know that I value you. And even when we disagree, I know that you’re doing important work,” said Reed.
“I am pleased to appoint Tracee McDaniel to serve on the Atlanta Citizen Review Board,” Mayor Reed said in a written statement. “As a life-long advocate for the transgender community, Ms. McDaniel will bring an important perspective and a lifetime of experience to this role.”
Reed said given the climate currently between residents and the police, putting someone from the transgender community on the board allows them to hear a unique voice. “Giving them a role on this body, I think, amplifies that voice and informs us,” said Reed.
Reed said Friday, he plans to be more involved in the board in the future.
“The citizens review board is very important and I think a lot of people are talking about it as a national model,” Reed said.
McDaniel is the founder and executive director of the Juxtaposed Center for Transformation, Incorporated, an advocacy, consulting and social services referral organization dedicated to empowering the diverse transgender and gender non-conforming community.
“As a life-long advocate for the transgender community, Ms. McDaniel will bring an important perspective and a lifetime of experience to this role,” said Mayor Reed. “It is always essential to have minority voices in the room, and our LGBTQ community has a tremendous stake in positive police-community relations. I am confident Tracee McDaniel will serve Atlanta with excellence and dedication.”
McDaniel has served on the Atlanta Police Department’s LGBT Advisory Board and facilitated Transgender Cultural Competency training for APD Academy recruits. In 2014, she became a Vetted Trainer for the United States Department of Justice.
One member of the Citizen Review Board, Buckhead resident Bill Bozarth, presented a report to the board of Neighborhood Planning Unit-B Aug. 2 concerning the two-hour meeting that Mayor Reed held with the representatives of the group that demonstrated in front of the Governor’s mansion last month.
The four-year board member, said the demonstrators had four specific demands for the mayor: (1) A complete overhaul of APD training, (2) End of excessive force in black neighborhoods and canceling of Operation Whiplash, (3) Expanded authority to prosecute criminal behavior by police officers, and (4) Redirect he city’s budget and funding allocations to provide more money for affordable housing, access to quality education and access to health care resources.
Bozarth, who for years represented Garden Hills on the NPU board, told the NPU-B board the mayor’s response was that he would consider their demands and answer them.