Neal Pinkston rejects City Council Subpoena

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CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – District Attorney General Neal Pinkston says he will ignore the city council subpoena ordering him to appear before them next Tuesday.

Instead, he plans to send a replacement and he will schedule his own meeting, one-on-one with Mayor Berke.

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Here is his statement released on Friday explaining why:

Thursday afternoon I accepted service of the Chattanooga council’s subpoena. 

My staff and I have received a steady influx of community feedback since Tuesday night’s council meeting, with the overwhelming majority encouraging me not to respond to the council’s demand.

The community’s sentiment confirms my own inclination and I will not appear before Chattanooga’s council next Tuesday.

Earlier this week, I provided councilmembers with the issues I believe are most responsible for hindering success of the Violence Reduction Initiative. During a VRI work session Wednesday afternoon, representatives of John Jay College acknowledged their own misunderstanding of Tennessee Sentencing Law, which resulted in unrealistic, even impossible, expectations from my office. They also agreed my office needs to be involved on the front end.

For months, fingers have been pointed at me. They were pointed in the wrong direction. City leaders need to put the focus on their own obligations in fulfilling the initiative Chattanooga taxpayers are funding. 

Next week Mayor Andy Berke and I will be meeting to discuss next steps and ways to make sure the Violence Reduction Initiative is as effective as it can possibly be. I remain committed to the city’s initiative, as I always have been.

(Although I will not be attending Tuesday’s council meeting, Attorney Gerald Webb has offered to appear to share his insight. Mr. Webb represents gang members in court on a daily basis. He was Mayor Berke’s original pick to fill the role of Public Safety Coordinator.)