Officers accused of demanding $36K for security, providing much less than expected

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Published: Feb. 14, 2022 at 3:47 PM EST
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - Some Atlanta police officers are accused of demanding $36,000 from a local organization but they apparently didn’t even make good on their promises when it came to the actual event.

After filing an ethics complaint with the Atlanta Police Department and dissatisfied with the response from both the mayor of Atlanta and the city’s police chief, board members with the martin Luther King Jr. Merchants Association are trying to recover thousands of dollars paid to two officers, senior patrol officer Andre Hartley and Lieutenant G. Harper.

The organization’s dispute began in October of 2017, when members of the non-profit met with former Mayor Kasim Reed’s staff and Atlanta’s police department to plan and approve a marathon race route and the security needed for a January, 2018 event.

A permit obtained by CBS46 showed the race was approved by Atlanta’s chief of staff, with senior patrol officer Andre Hartley designated as the security coordinator. Hartley later provided the non-profit with an invoice, charging $36,325 for security. None of the board members blinked an eye until it was time to cut the check.

Senior patrol officer Hartley allegedly told the non-profit that if they did not cut a cashier’s check up front to his personal security company PHD Cycles, the event would be cancelled. PHD Cycles, by the way, does not appear to have its registration up to date with the Georgia Secretary of State.

Then, on race day, came another red flag. Only 50 of the 80 promised APD officers (downsized from a proposed 175) showed up for security. And once the officers were confronted by the non-profit, Lieutenant Harper sent an email, confirming officers failed to show up, because they weren’t getting paid enough.

He also sent a document breaking down what each officer was paid and at the top of the list are both Hartley and Harper. They got paid the most along with administrative fees for $10,000. Harper also offered no apology and no refund and also informed the non-profit he saved them money by waiving an addition $7,875 in additional fees.

“it’s deception,” Ricky Brown, vice president of the Martin Luther King Jr. Merchants Association told CBS46 News. “I think our voices are being ignored. If something is not done, I’m calling for APD Police Chief Erika Shields to resign.”

Mitch Howell, member of the Merchants Association says the police department told the organization that they could not hire private security for the event. He says the city owes the organization about $19,000.

A spokesperson for the Atlanta Police Department confirms the investigation is still open. They say the situation presents an opportunity for the department to review policies related to hiring officers for off-duty events like this one.