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Rally held in response to Taser-related death of DeKalb County man


DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. -- A rally was held Friday in protest of the death of a man who died after being Tased during a police chase.

According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, 32-year-old Troy Robinson suffered traumatic injuries to his head and neck when he fell from an 8-foot wall after being Tased by police on August 7. He died after being transported to Grady Memorial Hospital.

Police said Robinson was fleeing officers following a routine traffic stop in DeKalb County in the Highlands of East Atlanta neighborhood.

 

Thousands of vacant VA jobs costing taxpayers billions


DECATUR, Ga. -- The Veterans Health Administration says it has 41,500 vacant medical staff positions throughout its network of 139 hospitals and clinics.

Critics blame the complex hiring process, poor recruitment and low wages compared to the private sector.

But according an analysis by USA Today, even a 1% increase in job vacancies contributes to more appointments being pushed past a month-long wait.

According to data provided by the Veteran's Health Administration as part of an open records request, the Atlanta Medical Center was operating last month without nearly 25% of its staff, or 880 medical workers. It was the fourth highest number of staff vacancies in the country.

Former DeKalb judge indicted on felony, misdemeanor charges


DECATUR, Ga. -- A former DeKalb County Superior Court Judge was indicted on multiple charges by a grand jury, Thursday.

Cynthia Jeanne Becker faces four felony counts of making a false statement, two felony counts of making a false writing and one misdemeanor of obstruction of an officer in a 2014 incident.

The incident happened on Sept. 8, 2014 and involved the bond request for Dr. Crawford Lewis.

Lewis is the former DeKalb Superintendent.

During the corruption case lawyers complained that Becker refused to give Lewis bond.

Becker insisted she never got a bond request.

Dekalb commissioner silent about reprimand


DECATUR, Ga. -- Dekalb County Commissioner Stan Watson declined to comment on the recent reprimand he received from the Dekalb County Ethics Board at Tuesday's County Commission meeting. It was the first reprimand issued in 15 years in DeKalb County.

"No comment, no comment, thank you ma'a,m," was all Watson said to 11Alive's Valerie Hoff as commissioners went into executive session.

Ethics investigators say Watson was a paid consultant for a company that did business with the county and he voted twice in favor of awarding or extending contracts with the company, which the county had hired to rehab foreclosed homes.

 

Woman asks robbers to return priceless locket


DECATUR, Ga. -- A Decatur woman is asking robbers for compassion after a priceless item was stolen from her apartment.

On Thursday, thieves broke into Sarah Wills’ apartment on North Druid Hills taking jewelry and electronics.

Among the items, was a locket Wills received from her mother when she was a young girl. She also received a bracelet that said, "My miracle baby.  Love mom."

Wills said her mother had given her the jewelry shortly before she passed away from breast cancer.   Her mom called Wills a miracle baby because she was born three months premature.

"I know my mom is there in spirit anyway, but it just kind of helps, you know," said Wills.

DeKalb Co. Board of Ethics chair resigns


DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. -- Less than 24-hours after the DeKalb County Board of Ethics met to handle a number of cases, including allegations against a county commissioner, its chairman has announced his resignation.

John Ernst announced his resignation in an e-mail to Interim CEO Lee May on Thursday which has provided to 11Alive.

In the resignation letter, Ernst pointed out the accomplishments of the board since he took the position two years ago including a better budget, more members and fewer complaints languishing in a backlog.

He  also said he will encourage voters to approve a referendum for further ethics reform in Novembers.

Ethics board: DeKalb commissioner did violate code of ethics


DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. -- The DeKalb County Ethics Board ruled Thursday night that County Commissioner Stan Watson violated the county's code of ethics.

The ethics board then considered whether to remove Watson from office or suspend him, but decided to reprimand him, instead.

Watson has admitted that a company called APD Solutions was paying him $500 a month at the very time the company was seeking a county contract.

Watson did, in fact, vote to award the company a one-million dollar county contract, and several months later, while he was still on the company payroll, voted again to award the company an additional $500,000.

Members of the ethics board called that a serious conflict of interest.

Watson was not present at the ethics board hearing Thursday night.