ATLANTA, Ga.(CBS46) In a few weeks Fulton County residents will cast their vote in the District Attorney runoff election.

But as Election Day nears, some are accusing one of the candidates of crossing an ethical line when it comes to their campaign contributions.

“It is an inherent bias, a conflict of interest because as we know the Police Union has never seen a situation where they thought the police should be prosecuted for anything” said Richard Rose with the Atlanta chapter of the NAACP.

A coalition of community leaders, pastors, nonprofits, which include the NAACP, Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and the National Bar Association are calling on the Georgia Bar to implement change.

“We are sending a letter to ask the bar to impose a rule that would preclude, prevent, prohibit prosecutors and District Attorneys from accepting money from the Police Union; because ladies and gentlemen, that’s the only way we can get justice and police reform in this country“ said C.K. Hoffler with the National Bar Association.

The group is taking issue DA candidates accepting endorsements and donations from the Police Union similar to the one received by Fulton County DA candidate Fani Willis.

“They should not be allowed to accept monies from the Police Unions because the police unions are going to understandably then mandate and ask for them not to prosecute their members,” added Hoffler.

But in a previous interview, Willis told CBS46 the endorsement would not prevent her from doing her job.

“Make sure your viewers understand that if a police officer violates anyone, that includes African-Americans, Asian, Hispanic Americans, or Caucasian Americans they’re gonna be held responsible," said Willis.

According to campaign contribution details, Willis also received a donation from Attorney Noah Pines who is representing former Atlanta police officer Garrett Rolfe. Rolfe was charged with the murder of Rayshard Brooks.

In response, Willis sent CBS46 the following statement:

"My biggest group of supporters are criminal defense attorneys, who protect the rights of their accusers... Pines is a criminal defense attorney who I have known professionally for years and he made his first contribution to me before the date Brooks was killed”. The statement went on to say, “ Don Samuel the attorney for Devon Brosnan the other officer charged in the Brooks case contributed money to Mr. Howard”.

So, CBS46 checked campaign contribution documents and found Pines' last donation to Willis‘ campaign was on June 30 -- nearly three weeks after the Rayshard Brooks shooting, which took place on June 12.

But Willis is correct in pointing out Don Samuels didn’t endorse nor make contributions to Paul Howard's campaign. Instead, those contributions were made on May 27.

CBS46 reached out to Howard but he was unavailable for comment.

Copyright 2020 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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