The coastal Georgia county where Ahmaud Arbery was shot and killed while jogging through a predominantly white neighborhood has hired its first full-time black police chief.
Glynn County commissioners voted Thursday for Jacques Battiste to lead the embattled department that has faced decades of allegations of cronyism and systemic bigotry.
Georgia lawmakers were unsuccessful in an attempt to dismantle Glynn County's police department last year following the fallout from Arbery's death.
Battiste, a former FBI agent, is serving as a deputy constable in New Orleans. He was chosen after an exhaustive search conducted by the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police with help from the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives.
Battiste promised to "bring [his] best game every day."
Battiste will take over from acting Chief Rickey Evans.
Glynn County's police department was named and nationally shamed for failing to make any arrests after Arbery, a 25-year-old black man, was chased, cornered, and fatally shot by three white men who spotted him jogging in their neighborhood on Feb. 23, 2020. Charges were only filed after a video was leaked of the incident and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation took over.
Days after Arbery's killing, Glynn County Police Chief John Powell was indicted on unrelated malfeasance charges in what prosecutors called an illegal effort to cover up a narcotics officer's affair with a confidential informant. He was placed on leave but ultimately fired in January.
In the past decade, the Glynn County Police Department has faced at least 17 lawsuits, including allegations of illegal search and seizure.
A Nov. 8, 2019, grand jury report concluded, among other things, that there was "an ongoing culture of cover-up, failure to supervise, abuse of power and lack of accountability within the administration of the Glynn County Police Department."
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Original Author: Barnini Chakraborty