A former police lieutenant who was demoted for harassing subordinates in 2006 is being proposed for termination by Albany Police Chief John Proctor.
Cpl. Sherman Battle, 52, is suspended with pay following a Georgia Bureau of Investigation probe that led to him being accused by Proctor of insubordination, neglect of duty, improper conduct in associating with criminals, and improper conduct in associating with gambling. An Albany Police Department employee since 1985, Sherman is suspended with pay as he appeals Proctor’s decision to City Manager Alfred Lott.
Public records show that in 2006, then-police Capt. Ernest Williams – now a deputy police chief who also serves as Mayor Willie Adams’ taxpayer-financed chauffer – demoted Mr. Battle from lieutenant to corporal for harassing subordinates.
Battle – who at the time was the supervisor of police officers patrolling the quadrant including Northwest Albany – was relegated to managing the Police Department’s fleet as part of his punishment.
In a deal approved by then-Police Chief James Younger after an investigation was concluded by Williams, Battle’s annual salary was increased from $40,991 to $45,909, a 12-percent increase, records show.
Williams says that several subordinates complained to him regarding Mr. Battle’s “ability to supervise.”
“These subordinates revealed that Mr. Battle lacks the needed management and people skills to be an effective leader,” records show. “There were allegations made by these subordinates that you were unfamiliar with current policy and procedures, and you often display improper behavior and language when addressing officers by making derogatory statements.
“These allegations are of concern because officers should not be subjected to a hostile work environment by being talked down to or made to feel incompetent. These officers alleged that they were subjected to harassment, intimidation, and threats while working directly or indirectly under your supervision. You have established a pattern of harassment, intimidation, and disrespect towards subordinate and superior officers in the past.”
Battle requested the demotion, public records show, and did not request a personnel hearing to defend allegations against him.
“After these leadership and performance issues were discussed with (Mr. Battle) … (Mr. Battle) expressed a desire to voluntarily relinquish his management position (lieutenant) to accept a non-supervisory position (corporal),” Williams said.
Unless Lott violated the Georgia Open Records Law, a misdemeanor crime that Lott frequently commits, there is no record detailing the complaints that led to Mr. Battle’s demotion.
Public records detail that Battle received the following communication from Capt. Williams detailing previous disciplinary action against Battle:
· “In February 2005, you were suspended for three days “regarding intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment” after having “inappropriate physical contact with Ptl. Melanie Simpson, a subordinate officer, by stepping on top of her freshly polished boot; and on Sept. 4, 2004, you made an inappropriate statement to officers during muster by telling them, ‘People, your job is not hard. We can train monkeys to do what y’all do.’ It was made clear to you at the time that your actions could have been viewed as racist, demeaning, and derogatory in general, and that any further complaints of such a nature would be considered as a basis for removing you from your position of command.
· In December 2003, you were suspended for five days for violation of rules and regulations, (dis)respect to supervisors and fellow employees, willful violation of departmental procedures and/or directives, and disrespect towards supervisors for displaying improper conduct and behavior, and making disrespectful comments towards Capt. Charlie Poole over assignment of a criminal case he assigned to you.
· In December 1991, you were suspended for five days for being disrespectful towards a supervisor for displaying improper conduct and behavior after being questioned on the whereabouts of some keys to a patrol vehicle. It was reported that you told then-Sgt. Mike Robertson, “I ain’t got no damn keys,” and then had heated words with former employee Lt. Calvin Dawson, and gestured toward him as if you wanted to fight him, but Sgt. Roberson intervened.”