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Atlanta Police's 'duty to intervene' standards challenged by councilmember

Councilman Antonio Brown introduced the resolution on Monday, before the verdict in the George Floyd case.

ATLANTA — Atlanta councilmember Antonio Brown introduced a resolution this week to try to amend the Atlanta Police Department's "duty to intervene" standards to encourage more intra-police accountability. 

In a release, Brown said the resolution would call on the department to change its standard operating procedure codes to "consider providing additional responsibilities to police officers to intercede when fellow officers are engaged in using excessive force or other unlawful activities."

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The proposed amendment would, according to the release, make it "mandatory for officers to report incidents of misconduct by fellow officers."

Currently, the Atlanta Police "duty to intervene" code states:

Any employee present and observing or who becomes aware of another employee exhibiting behaviors or performing actions that violate any departmental policy, state or federal law, or local ordinance, shall intercede to prevent such behavior or actions, when in a position to do so safely. Interceding employees shall report their observations and actions to an on-duty supervisor immediately following the safe resolution of the event.

Ex-Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murder on Tuesday for the death of George Floyd last year. Cell phone video taken by bystanders infamously showed Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck for roughly nine and a half minutes, as he cried for help and the bystanders themselves pleaded for him to stop, while fellow officers did nothing.

Those officers also face charges in the murder.

“Yesterday’s verdict was an important step forward in the ongoing fight for social and criminal justice reform, but it is just the beginning,” Brown said in a statemetn. “Now more than ever, we must take meaningful action to build greater trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve. This resolution seeks to encourage officers to report inappropriate or unlawful behavior by their colleagues without fear of reprisal. My hope is that the Atlanta Police Department considers adopting these amendments that will ultimately enhance and preserve the integrity of the department.”