Atlanta merchants claim they were ‘robbed' by off-duty security

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An Atlanta-area merchants’ association claims it was shortchanged in the amount of $26,000 paid to off-duty cops to secure a road race.

The Martin Luther King Jr Dr. Merchants Association say they tried for months to get a refund. Now, they have turned to the Fulton County District Attorney for action.

Acting-president Ricky Brown contends that keeping those funds amounts to theft.

Here is his account of what happened. An APD officer, known as the coordinator, gave instructions that 175 off-duty officers would be needed for the race. The coverage was to last four hours. Total cost for those officers -- $36,000.

On the day of the race, Brown says, only 50 officers showed up.

Brown and other merchants earlier took their complaints to the Atlanta Council Public Safety Panel.

Joyce Sheperd called for an audit. Andrea Boone described the treatment of the merchants as "wrong".

Chief Erika Shields took a look at the security for that race and found problems. One of her officers -- the coordinator -- was suspended for seven days. A second officer was suspended for two days.

An assistant chief explained the chief found ambiguity in the agreement reached by the businessmen and women and her officers. And there will be changes. For all future security arrangements, APD will require a detailed written agreement done seven days before the event.