Avondale Alliance for Racial Justice conducting survey on traffic citationsFrom http://www.avondaleestates.org/
Avondale Estates, GA — The Avondale Alliance for Racial Justice wants to hear from people who have received traffic tickets in Avondale Estates.
“Drivers who have been pulled over by the Avondale Estates Police Department are invited to respond to an open-ended survey,” a press release from the group says. “Responses will be collected through August 22. The responses will be used to understand the City’s policing practices and the impact of citations on drivers, especially Black drivers, who often say they feel targeted by Avondale police.”
Here’s the full announcement from the Avondale Alliance for Racial Justice:
Residents seek feedback from drivers ticketed in Avondale Estates
Survey data will drive recommendations for fair and just ticketing practices
July 30, 2020 — A group of Avondale Estates residents is seeking feedback from drivers pulled over and ticketed by the Avondale Estates Police Department as part of a study of traffic citations.
Drivers who have been pulled over by the Avondale Estates Police Department are invited to respond to an open-ended survey. Responses will be collected through August 22. The responses will be used to understand the City’s policing practices and the impact of citations on drivers, especially Black drivers, who often say they feel targeted by Avondale police.
Resident Patti Ghezzi is conducting the study in partnership with the Avondale Alliance for Racial Justice (AARJ). The group has sent letters and paper surveys to 500 Black drivers who were recently cited, seeking their feedback.
“We need to hear from drivers who have been ticketed if we are to fully understand this issue and make recommendations to ensure fair and just ticketing practices,” Ghezzi said. “We have citations data dating back to 2018, but the data does not tell the complete story. We need the voices of people who have received these tickets. We want to know how they were treated by the police and in our traffic court.”
Ghezzi’s interest in Avondale’s citation practices stems from complaints from Avondale Elementary School parents who say they feel targeted by the police when driving their children to and from school. The parents, who are Black, say they are uncomfortable with what they believe is a heavy police presence around the school, which is 82 percent Black.
About three-quarters of drivers ticketed by the Avondale police department are Black, according to data released via a public information request. Data from 2018 through March of 2020, show that 97 percent of tickets are issued to drivers living outside Avondale Estates, which is about 85 percent white. About 65 percent of tickets are issued on the portion of US-278 known as Covington Highway. Tickets and forfeitures accounted for $628,200 of the City’s $4.5 million budget in 2019.
The AARJ is advocating a community policing model in line with 21st Century policing guidelines.
“We want everyone who lives in Avondale, visits Avondale, or drives through Avondale to be treated with respect and to feel welcome,” said Carol Calvert, co-organizer of the AARJ. “The Citations in Avondale Estates Project is looking at an aspect of policing we have long recognized as a problem, the overwhelming number of Black drivers being ticketed and fined, especially around our elementary school. We are looking forward to listening to the data and to drivers who have been ticketed and using what we learn to push for change.”
Drivers who have been cited in Avondale may contact Ghezzi at firstname.lastname@example.org or 404.290.1996.
The Avondale Alliance for Racial Justice is a community-led movement taking an active role in fighting institutional racism, police brutality, and white supremacy both locally and nationally through education, activism, and accountability. We envision Avondale Estates becoming a more welcoming city to those who live, work, or visit here, regardless of their race.
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