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Meeting to view Deliford’s traffic stop footage canceled
City Reidsville sign
Photo by Allison Cobb
RPD Officer Anderson Deliford, Jr.
RPD Officer Anderson Deliford, Jr.

The City of Reidsville announced and later canceled a “video viewing” at City Hall, scheduled for Saturday, September 17, 2022. This information-only meeting was being held to show any member of the public footage from a traffic stop conducted by Reidsville Police Officer Anderson Deliford, Jr.

City Clerk Nivea Jackson emailed The Journal Sentinel on September 8, at noon, and advised there would be a meeting on September 17 at 10 a.m. at City Hall.  The Journal Sentinel staff questioned whether this meeting was legal, since the discussion of personnel may be brought up after watching the video.

The discussion of hiring, compensation, evaluation, or disciplinary action for a specific public officer or employee is one of the six reasons a governing body may go into executive session (OCGA § 50-14-3(b)(2)).

City Attorney DuAnn Cowart-Davis called The Journal Sentinel Reidsville office just before 2:30 p.m. that same day and advised there would not be a meeting. When asked if there was a reason for the cancellation, Cowart-Davis replied she could not give a reason and states there would be no public viewing of Officer Deliford’s dash camera or body camera footage.

Deliford was placed on unpaid administrative leave in late August due to an internal investigation. A little over a week later, Officer Deliford was back on the job by order of Reidsville Mayor Curtis Colwell. Cowell disregarded recommendations from City Attorney DuAnn Cowart-Davis and Reidsville Police Chief Stacey Wilds to terminate Deliford. At the September 12 meeting, Cowart-Davis stated it was no longer her recommendation to terminate Deliford. 

The camera footage has been viewed by the city attorney and the chief of police, leading them to determine Deliford is unfit for the Reidsville Police Department.

City Clerk Nivea Jackson referred to this video viewing as a meeting; the Open Meetings Act has defined what is and is not a “meeting.” The first requirement for a government meeting is a quorum of the members of the governing body; the second requirement is that the gathering must be one at which official business, policy, or public matters is formulated, presented, discussed, or voted upon.

At the September 12 council meeting, Councilwoman Lindsay Bennett made a motion to fire Officer Deliford, which Donald Prestage seconded. Councilmembers Verdie Williams, Carolyn Crume-Blackshear, and Doug Williams opposed. 

City Attorney Cowart-Davis stated that firing Deliford would put the city in a better position concerning potential litigation from Neil Singleton, who is the Reidsville citizen Deliford pulled over and arrested in the video footage discussed.