Expungement summit aims to give people second chances

by: Carl Willis Updated:

ATLANTA - Dozens of Fulton County residents learned about the chance to have their arrest records cleared Thursday evening.

The program is a first of its kind in Fulton County.

Even with Atlanta’s growing economy and its Fortune 500 companies, there are parts of the community being left behind.

"It feels like there are a lot of good things going on in Atlanta and it doesn't apply to you," resident Terralynn King told Channel 2’s Carl Willis.

In many cases it doesn't apply to people like King because of a criminal record.


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Many are blocked from employment and housing due to low-level offenses like her disorderly conduct charge from 30 years ago.

"They hired me for the job and then walked me off the job after introducing me to people. It's humiliating," King said.

That's why Fulton County Commission Chairman John Eaves is partnering the county with Atlanta police and Ebenezer Baptist Church. Eaves wants to help expunge certain records.

"There are a lot of folks in our community who are sort of in a no man's land, 2,500 approximately, who have been arrested and have something on their record but have never been convicted," Eaves said.

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Thursday dozens attended an expungement summit where many with convictions or cases outside of Fulton discovered they don't qualify, including Jared White, who says his record overshadows his degree from Georgia State.

"Your self-esteem and spirit just goes to nothing because you're constantly told that you qualify," White told Willis.

The program is for those arrested for nonviolent crimes, who never plead guilty and never had a formal trial.

"We're going to be very productive and proactive and aggressive and we will hopefully have very positive outcomes," Eaves said.

A much-needed second chance for people like King.

"Possibilities. I'm excited about it," King said.