Athens Police

Panel looking at race relations has first meeting

A panel trying to improve relations between the Athens Police Department and the minority community began talking about the issue yesterday. Police Captain Dave Williams says he hopes to avoid future confrontations such as the one June fourth that led to the creation of the four-member group. Police called to a disturbance at an Athens bar were accused of racism and excessive force, allegations the police have denied. Leon Forte, a minister who is on the panel, says the town has some race issues, but he thinks people will be able to deal with them. The group meets again Friday.