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State & Local (US)

In a letter to Mayor Shirley Franklin of Atlanta, Georgia dated January 10, 2007, AHA President Barbara Weinstein, Past President Linda K. Kerber, and Executive Director Arnita A. Jones, expressed the AHA Council’s concern over an incident between historian Felipe Fernandez-Armesto and an Atlanta police officer, that began with jaywalking and escalated to an 8 hour ordeal in jail.

The letter expresses the Association’s “profound concern” and dismay “that an Atlanta police officer subjected a member of our association to such rough treatment and, in our judgment, significantly over-reacted to a situation in which the main problem was a lack of communication.”

Citing the negative impression this left with many meeting attendees, the letter warns that, “it would only be after the Association has received assurances from the appropriate municipal authorities that this problem has been addressed that we could again consider Atlanta as a future site for the AHA’s annual meeting.”

The letter concludes that “We hope that you will take steps to make such incidents less likely in the future, and we respectfully request that a formal apology be tendered to Prof. Fernández-Armesto by the mayor’s office.”