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Attorney says city manager’s suspension of Clarkston police chief is ‘personal’ and ‘petty’

Avondale Estates Clarkston Crime and public safety Trending

Attorney says city manager’s suspension of Clarkston police chief is ‘personal’ and ‘petty’

Clarkston Police Chief Christine Hudson. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Clarkston, GA — Clarkston’s Police Chief received a five-day unpaid suspension on April 13, but the city wouldn’t say why. City Manager Shawanna Qawiy called it a “personnel matter.”

But Police Chief Christine Hudson’s attorney, Ed Buckley, says it’s a personal issue that Qawiy has with his client and said the city manager “has been gunning for her for a while.” When asked what Qawiy’s beef with Hudson is, Buckley said, “Well, I don’t want to get into it this minute, but it’s personal, and it’s petty, and we think it needs to stop.” 

Buckley intends to file a grievance with the city on behalf of Hudson, who is supposed to return to work on April 21. Qawiy did not comment on Buckley’s statements when contacted by Decaturish.

“I will not make additional comments on this personnel matter with the media,” she said. “When the grievance is submitted, it will be handled via the city’s personnel policies.”

                                               Shawanna Qawiy, Clarkston’s city manager.

According to a city memo obtained via an open records request, Qawiy suspended Hudson for allegedly:

— Failing or refusing to follow oral or written instructions

— Inefficiency or lack of application in the performance of duties

— Conduct unbecoming a city officer or employee

— Insubordination

Buckley said the claim of insubordination is “pretextual” and that the rest of the claims are false or trumped-up.

Everything [in the memo] is untrue,” Buckley said. 

Buckley said Hudson has never failed to follow instructions.

“Chris is a very by-the-book officer, if you know Chris at all,” Buckley said. “Ms. Qawiy has not articulated in here any specifics at all.” 

Buckley said that Hudson has not engaged in any conduct unbecoming an employee, though she has been frustrated on at least one occasion.

When Ms. Qawiy was talking to her in a disparaging manner, Chris flipped her pencil in the air and said, ‘Here we go again,'” Buckley said. 

Hudson, by most accounts, is a professional and accomplished police officer.

Chief Hudson joined Clarkston in 2009 as a lieutenant, and worked her way through the ranks to become chief in 2012. She’s received accolades throughout her career, which began in 1983.

Georgia Women in Law Enforcement named her an “honoree” for the DeKalb County Officer of the Year Program in 1991. That same year, the Georgia Bar Association named her “Officer of the Year” for DeKalb County. In 2005, Hudson went to Baghdad to help train the Iraqi Police. The city’s website says Hudson is a member of the Georgia Chiefs Association and the International Chiefs Association. She’s past president of the DeKalb Chiefs Association and is a board member for the Commission on Family Violence. She also sits on the Criminal Justice Information Services Advisory Policy Board.

Harry Hess, the current police chief of Avondale Estates, served as Hudson’s assistant police chief from 2019 to 2022 before leaving for his current job. He said the allegations in Qawiy’s memo sound nothing like the person he considers one of his best mentors.

“She is up there in the Top 3 mentors… I would not be the chief of police if she didn’t push me,” Hess said. 

Hess told Decaturish he is “really shocked at what’s going on” with his former boss and the allegations against her.

“That is not the Chief Hudson that I know,” Hess said. “I’m not going to get into whatever is going on over there, but basically, what you’ve told me is a shocker to me. I’ve never known her not to follow orders or fail at her job in any way.” 

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