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Report: Kirkwood residents say criminal justice system has enabled assault suspect

Crime and public safety Kirkwood and East Lake

Report: Kirkwood residents say criminal justice system has enabled assault suspect


This story has been updated. 

Atlanta, GA — A man has been arrested more than 60 times has been accused of assaulting women in Kirkwood, according to CBS Atlanta.

“His latest two incidents in the Kirkwood area on August 8 and 17 involved breaking into women’s houses and undressing, and even touching them,” CBS reported.

The victims say more needs to be done to stop the suspect from re-offending. Both the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office and the Atlanta Police Department have released statements following the initial airing of the CBS story.

From Atlanta Police:

The Atlanta Police Department responds to media statement on APD not doing enough to address the concerns of citizens regarding a repeat offender in their community.

In researching the inquiry from this local media outlet yesterday, the Atlanta Police Department found around 50 reports related to … the suspect in question. The most recent reports show he was arrested for burglary in August 2020 and for public indecency and criminal trespass in August of 2021. Breaking into someone’s home is a crime we take seriously. We understand how violating it is to be the victim of this type of crime and our burglary investigators take these cases very seriously. When a resident is home during a burglary, it makes it even more concerning to us. It appears [the suspect] has 64 previous arrest cycles, leading us to share in saying that more needs to be done to address this individual and his repeat criminal actions. That said, we feel it necessary to reiterate the obvious; policing is only one aspect of the criminal justice system.

Our officers arrest dangerous suspects and other law breakers every day. They put their lives on the line to make these arrests and escort individuals to jail. These routine arrests never make the news. It is immensely frustrating to us to see repeat offenders quickly released and back out on our streets, especially considering all the work and risk involved in doing our job. We do not have authority over the court’s actions or that of the legal professionals involved in these cases. In that vein, we feel it necessary to push back when our agency gets blamed for actions or decisions that have nothing to do with policing or responsiveness to our community.

As stated above, [the] suspect has been arrested repeatedly and for crimes we find to be very concerning. It is our hope that [the suspect] will be held accountable for his actions and be provided the necessary resources to address his behavior.

In a separate statement in this same inquiry, one of the citizens interviewed by this reporter mentioned that one of our officers was dismissive to her complaint regarding this suspect. We are looking into that allegation and have made the Zone Commander aware of the complaint. We know our officers can be frustrated when dealing with repeat offenders … However, it is unacceptable for our officers to diminish the concerns of those in our communities. If this happened, it will be addressed internally.

The APD is committed to the City of Atlanta. Chief Rodney Bryant, and the entire command staff want the public to know that we are committed to transparency and honesty. We respond to all inquiries and welcome the opportunity to have a conversation about our actions and we appreciate every opportunity to clarify any misinformation.

The safety of our citizens and visitors is our top priority. We want bad characters off our streets just like you do. We want everyone to feel safe in our city. Our officers remain vigilant in their patrols, responsive to 911 calls and will continue to arrest and charge suspects who violate the law and are deemed a threat to our city.

Here is the statement from the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office:

The Office of the DeKalb County District Attorney shows one closed case involving [the defendant]. He pled guilty on June 8, 2021 to charges of Criminal Trespass and Public Indecency in connection with an August 2020 incident. He was sentenced by the Court to 24 months confinement with credit for time served from August 8, 2020 to the date of the plea. According to the terms of the plea, [the defendant] was ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation, take medication as prescribed, and stay away from the victims. The State discussed the plea and the associated terms with the victims in advance of plea proceedings.

Our Office has been made aware of a recent arrest involving [the defendant]. Upon receipt of the file from law enforcement, we will conduct a comprehensive investigation into the facts, circumstances, evidence, and law related to this matter in an effort to make an appropriate charging determination.

Finally, we are aware of the community’s concerns regarding this Defendant. We take those concerns,  and those related to all crime committed in our community, seriously. We are committed to seeking fair and just outcomes in our prosecution of felony crimes committed within this jurisdiction. It is not only our mandate, but our mission.

To read the full story, click here.

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