More transparency for Atlanta Public Safety Training Center task force meetings

A special task force created to foster community input on the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center, which met for the first time Wednesday morning, will now be open to the public.

Thursday, the ACLU left the group over concerns of a lack of transparency about the future of the site.

Gerald Griggs, who is president of the Georgia NAACP, says he also shares in those concerns.

"The community should have the ability to watch, to hear and to give input," Griggs said.

Wednesday’s meeting was in a secret location behind closed doors. Griggs believes that was a mistake.

"There were members of the task force, including myself, who asked the mayor’s office to make sure there was transparency by opening the meetings,"

Griggs was named a member of the task force by Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens.

"We want to have a seat at the table, so community members can have input on what’s going to be recommended and decided from this task force," Griggs said.

Griggs wants the public to see what is going on in those task force meetings.

"All steps in this process need to be transparent to the public, so they can have input and eyes on what is happening in real time," he said.

The meeting was supposed to be open to report, but access got cut off and members met out of the public eye.

"A lot of these individuals expressed today they were scared," Mayor Dickens said on Wednesday.

Mayor Dickens says some members of the group were concerned about their safety after sometimes violent clashes between police and protesters.

"There may have been members who may have voiced their security concerns earlier, before the meeting actually convened, but during the meeting, the majority of the task force was concerned about the lack of transparency," Griggs said.


The ACLU parted way from the task force citing concerns over transparency the day after the DeKalb County Medical Examiner’s Office revealed protester Manuel Teran had at least 57 gunshot wounds as a result of a deadly confrontation with law enforcement on the future training center’s property.

The mayor’s office on Friday said task force meeting will now be open to the public via Zoon.

"We are glad the mayor’s office made that decision after the task force requested it," Griggs said. "My hope is the task force will be transparent and available to members of the public."

Griggs says he would reconsider his membership if the task force lapses back into a pattern of poor transparency.

The ACLU says it applauds the mayor for opening the meetings, but a spokesperson would not say if it plans to rejoin the task force again.