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Reed ‘threat’ records secret, city says

According to Atlanta Police Chief George Turner, Mayor Kasim Reed has received thousands of threats since taking office six years ago, but city officials say every single one of those threats is still under investigation.

“Investigations into threats are never really closed as there is no way to know that the threat maker has ceased being a threat,” city officials said in an emailed statement when The Atlanta Journal-Constitution asked for records documenting the threats.

Turner told WSB’s Channel 2 Action News about the threats as a justification for Reed’s use of blue lights and sirens to speed through Atlanta traffic. But the city has refused to release any records showing such threats exist, citing an exemption into the state’s open records laws allowing them to keep records hidden if revealing them would compromise a criminal investigation.

However, the same state law requires the city to produce police incident reports and arrest reports even if other records are shielded. The city provided no such reports.

Criminal defense attorney Ashleigh Merchant said the city’s position appears to be in conflict with the Georgia Supreme Court’s interpretation of the law.

“They couldn’t all be open,” she said. “You can’t just say something is open if there is no imminent prosecution.”

Read more about the city’s decision not to release the records in the AJC Watchdog column here.

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