Baruti Artharee, Mayor Charlie Hales'
controversial public safety advisor, has resigned
effective Oct. 17.
In his resignation letter, delivered Oct. 8, Artharee says he was unable to focus fully on both his job and "untangling the hardships imposed on me by my divorce."
Artharee continued: "It has become abundantly clear that this position takes 110% and that it is not possible for me while addressing and resolving my personal business matters."
Hales says Artharee's brief tenure made a difference.
“We are sorry to see someone with Baruti’s skills and passion for justice leave us,” Hales said today in a statement. “In his short time here, he has contributed much to my vision of building and improving relationships between the police and the neighborhoods, businesses and citizens. We wish him well in his retirement, but will not be surprised to see him continue to be an active voice for justice and equity in our city.”
Artharee came under heavy fire earlier this year after WW reported
he'd made inappropriate remarks about County Commissioner Loretta Smith
at a gathering at the Quartet Restaurant.
"I said, 'Here's our beautiful commissioner, Loretta Smith—mmm, mmm,
mmm—she looks good tonight,
'" Artharee told WW
June 9. But he says the comments
were meant to be "light-hearted."
"I meant to give her a compliment and do so in a comical way," Artharee says.
After an investigation, the city suspended
Artharee for a week.
In July, Hales told WW
he refused Artharee’s offer to resign and decided against firing him for one basic reason: Hales wanted to force fundamental cultural changes within the Police Bureau, and Artharee, his police liaison, was too valuable to lose.
“Who do you want by my side when we rise to that challenge of recruiting the officers who are going to be here for 25 years?” Hales said then. “I want Baruti Artharee right next to me. Who better?”
“I want him to serve his time with this discipline,” Hales continued. “I want him to take the training, and then I want him on the horse, riding forward, to get this important work done.”