Montgomery leaders start probe into police shooting, Committee approves tenure, teacher evaluations

Mar 8, 2016

Montgomery city officials are planning their own investigation of the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man by a white police officer. A-P-R’s Stan Ingold reports the decision was made after complaints from the officer's colleagues…

Mayor Todd Strange told The Montgomery Advertiser that officers are unhappy, concerned and upset over the arrest of Officer Aaron Smith.

Smith is charged with murder in the death of 58-year old Gregory Gunn. Gunn is black and Smith is white. Smith's attorney called his arrest a "political witch hunt."

Strange says the office of City Investigations, similar to the police department's internal affairs unit, will review evidence including radio calls and witness statements but will not have access to video footage.

Gunn was shot February 25th as he walked home from a friend's house. Officials say Smith thought Gunn looked "suspicious."

A legislative committee approves a proposal to make student test scores a factor in teachers' annual evaluations.

The bill also would extend the time it takes for teachers to obtain tenure. The Senate Education and Youth Affairs Committee approved the bill on a 5-4 vote today, and it now goes to the full Senate

In a public hearing, some educators criticized the proposal as a return to high-stakes testing. But reform groups praised it, saying something needs to be done to push student achievement forward.

Twenty-five percent of a teacher's annual evaluation score would come from measures of student achievement growth. The bill would also give bonuses to schools with substantial improvement.

The proposal also extends the time to obtain tenure from three to five years.

NASA officials are traveling from Huntsville to vist Montgomery schools this week.

The agency’s mission is to spread the word about the importance of the state’s role in NASA’s journey to Mars while gaining the interest of students who could someday go into space.

Scott Broemsen* is a Legislative Affairs Officer at Marshall Space Flight Center. He believes interacting with young students is an important part of their stay.

“Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday part of our mission at NASA and specifically at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville is to reach students in the next generation of explorers who will be coming behind all of us and the engineers here now.”

Marshall Space Flight Center officials will engage with students in science, technology, engineering and math STEM activities.

NASA will also hold numerous events open to the public and news media during their stay.