Jackson's personnel file won't be made public
Charlotte City Council last night decided not to release the personnel filed of fired CMPD officer Marcus Jackson. He's accused of sexually assaulting six women while on duty. In fact, council didn't even review the file as had been expected. WFAE's Lisa Miller reports: Council members Warren Cooksey and Patsy Kinsey were the difference in last night's outcome. Two weeks ago they voted to put the issue of Marcus Jackson's personnel file on the agenda for last night's meeting. The plan was to go into executive session to review Jackson's file. But it still needed another vote. Last night Cooksey and Kinsey reversed course and voted not to go into executive session to review his records. The vote was 6-to-4 against reviewing the personnel file. Cooksey said he only voted to have the subject of Jackson's file on last night's agenda so that council could keep its options open. "I know that sounds like technical splitting hairs, but that's the process," added Cooksey. He said over the past two weeks he was assured that police were making enough changes and that more information would be vetted by the courts. "I decided that both I had sufficient information about the way the police were handling the aftermath of former officer Jackson's terrible actions and also confidence in procedures that exist going forward with both criminal and civil actions that there will be enough information to approach this without creating this new precedent of delving into a personnel file," explained Cooksey. But what about people who say city council may have confidence, but we don't? "I'm sorry that that disconnect exists," says Cooksey. "I'm sure that there has been an appropriate response, an appropriate level of change with continuing changes going on. I am persuaded and I am convinced that there are efforts underway to fix the issues that led to one bad cop out of 1,700 getting through." Council member Patsy Kinsey says a lawsuit filed by two of Jackson's alleged victims influenced her decision not to review the record. "I had determined based on things that had happened this past week that it would not be appropriate to open the file," says Kinsey. "It could be damaging to the city in the lawsuit it faces." Jackson's personnel file is the subject of much speculation. Police Chief Rodney Monroe has only acknowledged that Jackson was disciplined for what he called an incident involving speeding, but he did not elaborate. The attorney for the victims who filed the lawsuit says he wants to know more about CMPD's hiring standards and how it handled discipline of Jackson in the approximately 10 months he was patrolling Charlotte's streets. Monroe quickly left Monday's meeting after council voted against the executive session. As he was leaving, WFAE asked him if he played a role in reducing any of Jackson's suspensions. He said, "None, none whatsoever." State low allows government agencies to release personnel files if it's essential to maintaining public confidence in the administration of city services. Mayor Anthony Foxx was the only person to address the issue before last night's vote. "There is a confidence issue and whether the confidence issue would be improved or not by the disclosure of these records is something that we should talk about," said Foxx. But the discussion went no further.