Kwanza Hall Ordinance Seeks to Repeal Atlanta’s Quality of Life Code



With additional reporting by Matthew Charles Cardinale.


(APN) ATLANTA — Atlanta City Councilman Kwanza Hall (District 2) has introduced an ordinance that, in its current form, would repeal the section of the City of Atlanta’s Code of Ordinances that currently contains the so-called “Quality of Life” laws that disproportionately target homeless people, poor people, people of color, and other marginalized groups.


Ordinance 16-0-1413, introduced by Hall as one of three personal papers dealing with reform around law enforcement, has been introduced to the Council’s Public Safety/Legal Administration Committee.


Hall told APN that he intends for the ordinance to start the conversation around repealing the entire current Code section, and replacing it with entirely new language.


As recently reported by Atlanta Progressive News, the Atlanta jails are filled with homeless people who have violated minor infractions associated with “Quality of Life” arrests – such that they function as a quasi homeless shelter.


In a four year period from 2012 to 2015, 104,069 people were arrested in Atlanta on quality of life violations.


Of that number, 90,316 were arrests of Black people.  The numbers show the disparities in arrest between the Black community in Atlanta and other racial groups.


“WHEREAS, policies such as ‘broken windows’ policing, ‘quality of life’ arrests, financially driven court systems and ‘debtors jails,’ have concentrated law enforcement not on preventing violence but instead have target and profile the most vulnerable member of our communities for arrests and jail time,” the ordinance reads.


“WHEREAS, these policies have made our communities less safe and many now view police as a threat rather than protection,” the ordinance reads.


“WHEREAS, Atlanta Municipal Code contains 85 “quality of life” offenses which encourages pretextual stops, racial and gender bias in policing and often result in harassment,” the ordinance reads.


“WHEREAS, the 400 people in the Atlanta City Detention Center on any given day are overwhelmingly Black and poor and taken to jail for offenses such as spitting, jay walking, and idling and loitering,” the ordinance reads.


“Whose life are they improving?  It’s not improving the quality of life of poor folks because they are the ones being arrested for QOL violations,” Marshall Rancifer of the Justice for All Coalition, who compiled those statistics, told APN.


“It’s so people don’t have to look at homeless folks or deal with them – that’s whose lives it’s improving,” Rancifer told APN.


Hall’s other ordinance, 16-0-1412, supports integrity and transparency in Atlanta’s law enforcement agencies.


The purpose of this ordinance is to develop a police culture of transparency to build trust with the community, in the wake of endless police killings and incidents of police brutality across the U.S.


Hall also introduced Resolution 16-R-4043, which would establishing a City of Atlanta 21st Century Policing Task Force for the implementation of President Barack Obama’s 21st Century Policing Task Force Recommendations.


Hall, who is considering running for Mayor of Atlanta in 2017, recently hired Colleen Kiernan, formerly of the Sierra Club, to join his policy staff at City Hall.


The following sections of Chapter 106, are to be repealed, in the current version of 16-0-1413.  Several types of Quality of Life violations are included, as well as other laws that arguably do not fall in the category of QOL; however, all were included to encourage a comprehensive discussion of the entire Chapter.




Sec. 1 06-1. – Loitering around railroad tracks or shops; swinging onto trains.


Sec. 106-2. – Solicitation of defense of prisoners or legal business.


Sec. 106-3. – Gathering near detention facility, jail or courthouse; furnishing items to incarcerated persons.


Sec. 106-4. – Impersonating or wearing uniform of police officer.


Sec. 106-5.- Furnishing identification containing reference to age.


Sec. 106-6. – Registering under assumed name.


Sec. 106-7. – Passenger stations.


Sec. 106-9.- Smoking in certain areas within city buildings and facilities.


Sec. 106-10. – Distribution of free tobacco products in public places prohibited.


Sec. 106-11. – Use of drinking water reservoir prohibited.


Sec. 106-12.- Urban camping and improper use of public places.




Sec. 106-51. – Theft by shoplifting.


Sec. 106-53.- Destruction of property.


Sec. 106-54. – Defacing buildings.


Sec. 106-55.- Injuring or interfering with public service property.


Sec. 106-56. – Unauthorized persons entering vacant buildings.


Sec. 106-57.- Unauthorized interference or attempted interference with parked vehicles.


Sec. 106-58. – Transportation passes and nontransferable tickets.


Sec. 106-59. – Resale of entertainment tickets restricted.




Sec. 106-81. – Disorderly conduct.


Sec. 106-82. – Unauthorized persons entering school buildings.


Sec. 106-83.- Unauthorized persons not to remain in school buildings when requested to



Sec. 106-84. – Creating a disturbance at schools.


Sec. 106-85.- Monetary solicitation.


(Sec. 106-86.- Reserved.)


Sec. 106-87.- Treasure hunts.


Sec. 106-88.- Moving household goods at night.


Sec. 106-89. – Residential picketing.


Sec. 106-90. – False representations to police or any city department.






Sec. 106-126.- House of ill fame.


Sec. 106-127. – Solicitation for an illicit sexual act.


Sec. 106-128.- Criminal impersonation.


Sec. 106-129. – Indecency.


Sec. 106-130. – Defecating or urinating on public property or in areas.


Sec. 106-131. – Spitting.


Sec. 106-132. – Hazing.




Sec. 106-151. – Playing or betting at game of chance in public place.


Sec. 106-152.- Maintenance of place for betting on races.


Sec. 106-153. – Pinball and other coin-operated machines.


Sec. 106-154.- Use of wheel or other device.


Sec. 106-15 5. – Turf exchanges and pool selling.


Sec. 106-156.- Buying or selling pools or making or taking books on horse races.


Sec. 106-157.- Giving or taking money to bet on horse races.


Sec. 106-158.- Bookmaking, pool selling, loitering to give or receive racing news, to bet.


Sec. 106-159.- Operation of tickers.


Sec. 106-160.- Conducting numbers game.


Sec. 106-161. – Possession of tickets of numbers game.


Sec. 106-162. – Purchase or possession of lottery tickets.


Sec. 106-163.- Seizure of properties used in connection with lottery or gambling house.


Sec. 106-164.- Vehicles used in connection with lottery or gambling house.




Sec. 106-181.- Model glue.


Sec. 106-182.- Marijuana (under 1 oz).


Sec. 106-183. – Aftershave lotion.


Sec. 106-184.- Spray paint.




Sec. 106-227.- Curfew-Authorized.


Sec. 106-228. – Same-Responsibility of parents.


Sec. 106-229. – Child in need of supervision.




Sec. 106-326.- Registration required by aliens possessing firearms.


Sec. 106-327.- Disposition; permit required.


Sec. 106-328. – Application for permit to dispose of firearm.


Sec. 106-329.- Notice of purchase, possession to be given to mayor or designee.


Sec. 106-330.- Enforcement of division.






Sec. 106-401. – Title.


Sec. 106-402. – Findings.


Sec. 106-403. – Designation of drug-free commercial zones.


Sec. 106-404. – Duration; revision; deletion.


Sec. 106-405.- Prohibited acts.


Sec. 106-406. – Issuance of exclusion notices.




Sec. 106-421. – Designation of drug free zones.


Sec. 106-422. – Duration; revision; deletion.


Sec. 106-423.- Prohibited acts.


Sec. 106-424. -Issuance of exclusion notices.




  • While Hall’s rationale is honorable – that these laws disproportionately target Black citizen – I don’t think that decriminalizing acts like impersonating a police officer, shoplifting, disorderly conduct, defecating or urinating in a public place or interfering with parked cars (among others) is good for our community. Instead of decriminalizing these acts, perhaps Hall should seek more evenhanded and race blind enforcement of the current laws.

    As a victim of several of these “victimless” crimes, I can say that its nearly impossible to get the APD to enforce them in the first place. Its been my experience that the accused must be engaging in very extreme versions of these offenses and that officers are unwilling to arrest without pretty much iron clad proof. While Hall’s intentions appear to be laudable, perhaps a study of why these laws are primarily enforced against Black citizens would be more appropriate. Hall could also look into ways to help homeless citizens such as providing public restroom stops or mental health reviews and support for those reported for disorderly conduct.

  • Some of these “crimes” are really ridiculous and while police don’t enforce them always- they often use them as an excuse to “find” a larger crime. There is at least one officer inside of zone 6 who is labeled the “quality of life” crimes officer. It’s his sole job to go screw with people and he exercises it whenever he can. I’ve seen a guy spend all day loading a truck to move out of his house and as soon as nightfall came, an officer was there to try to sight him… yes he was a black moving things out of a house at night. According to the laws here- pokemon go and arcade games are illegal. This gets a bit ridiculous and can cross over the line to violating some civil liberties. Not All should be thrown out, but certainly revisions should be made. Leave in school zones- let’s protect our kids. Let’s be more specific about city curfew laws and make sure parents understand… etc.

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