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Lawsuit challenges laws allowing voters to decide fate of Glynn County Police Department

Lawsuit filed by Glynn County Board of Commissioners

FILE - Glynn County Police Department
FILE - Glynn County Police Department

BRUNSWICK, Ga. – The Glynn County Board of Commissioners on Friday filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of two laws green-lighting a vote on abolishing the Glynn County Police Department.

The laws in question are Senate Bills 38 and 509, which were passed by the Georgia General Assembly in June and signed by Gov. Brian Kemp in August.

SB 38 allows the state to abolish a county police department if the voters choose to do so, and SB 509 contains the wording of a binding referendum on abolishing the Glynn County Police Department and transferring the agency’s operations and assets to the Glynn County sheriff.

The referendum will be put before voters on Election Day in November.

According to the county, under SB 38 and SB 509, county assets would be transferred through “an unlawful referendum and election process,” which the county says would be a violation of the Georgia Constitution and state election law.

READ: Glynn County lawsuit

“This lawsuit is a challenge to the legality and constitutionality of these Senate Bills, and also seeks enforcement of and adherence to the procedural requirements mandated by Georgia law regarding calling and administering special elections, such as the one at issue in SB 509,” the lawsuit reads.

“This lawsuit does not seek to litigate any question related to the merits of abolishing the Glynn County Police Department, or the reasons that motivated the passage and enactment of these bills. This lawsuit also does not seek to question the ability of the current Sheriff to provide law enforcement services in Glynn County.”

Efforts to abolish the Glynn County Police Department have been progressing slowly before Ahmaud Arbery was fatally shot, motivated by a series of scandals, including the deaths of three people who died in shootings involving one Glynn County officer.