Police chief stands behind FBI report despite new criticism - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Savannah police chief stands behind FBI report despite new criticisms

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On Monday, WTOC reported that Savannah city councilman Tony Thomas said he was not finished with questions about police reporting complaints and alleged misconduct, despite an FBI review of internal affairs findings.

Thomas told WTOC he felt there was more to be investigated, but on Tuesday, Savannah-Chatham Metro Police Chief Willie Lovett stood by his comments last week. Chief Lovett has told us he feels the FBI report and the findings of the Office of Professional Standards and the FBI review of those findings speak for themselves.

The FBI review of internal affairs findings found no violations, but Thomas vowed to continue to push the issue after a meeting with the Savannah city manager Monday.

"I question the FBI agent who was here who said he couldn't give us anything in writing. I don't know. I don't have full confidence in that," Thomas told WTOC.

Thomas says that was the word from the city manager Stephanie Cutter after last week's surprise visit from FBI agent Gene Kowell, who told Savannah City Council, minus a few members including Thomas, who was on vacation, their review of the findings of 12 complaints involving police reports found no federal violations.

"Ultimately, it's really not an FBI issue," Kowell told WTOC last week. 

Council members decided to offer recommendations for improving police reporting to the city manager to go over with Chief Lovett, who is expected at a work session next month. 

"I don't think it's mistrust. I think people need to understand when we say our crime rate is so and so, we need to make sure it so. It is safer compared to whoever. How do we measure that," Van Johnson, Savannah City Council, told WTOC.

"We are satisfied and we thank them and we want to continue our relationship with the FBI," Mayor Edna Jackson said.

Thomas says he wants to know more about what he may have missed.

"He said no federal violations but he did say he saw some serious concerns," Thomas said. "The FBI comes in and probes a police department. Why won't they give a written report and sign their name to it? That kind of raises red flags to me."

He'll take his questions and concerns to the FBI on Thursday.

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