ATLANTA - City officials hired a sanitation worker in 2014 who was convicted of raping a woman, impersonating a police officer and escaping from prison.
Vanando Smith was hired through former Mayor Kasim Reed's administration, as part of a workforce development program that gives convicted felons second chances, but once Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms' administration learned of his previous crimes, Smith was fired.
Channel 2 Action News obtained documents that detail Smith's 1996 rape conviction, aggravated sodomy and impersonating a police officer convictions. Smith was also convicted of theft, forgery and escaping prison in 2005. He was convicted in DeKalb County, but Channel 2's Tyisha Fernandes discovered several more charges in other counties.
“There’s a lot of people out here who need a second chance,” concerned resident Angela Moore said.
But she does not think Smith is one of those people because of his lengthy criminal record.
City officials said they knew about his record. They sent Channel 2 Action News the following statement:
"To the best of our knowledge, a background check was conducted during the hiring process, which occurred under the previous administration."
Moore said she called Bottoms' office and told them about Smith's record after she said she heard some things that made her uncomfortable.
"The mayor's office said, 'We're going to take it serious and take steps,' but they didn't tell me what," Moore said.
City officials fired Smith on Thursday and said, "Background checks are mandatory for all employees and the city will continue to strengthen the screening process in line with the expectations of the current administration."
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