The city of Atlanta has a problem, but it might not be the police. It might be the mayor.
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms first came to current national attention when the George Floyd protests broke into riots. She stood before news cameras and told people in Atlanta to stop rioting and “go home,” in a move that was considered to be a moment of real leadership.
But Bottoms, a Democrat, said during a CNN town hall Sunday that her heart remains heavy because “up until Friday I thought we were doing it right.”
“We have implicit bias training in this city. We require people to go to the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. We have housing for our police officers in many of our communities in which they are serving in. But yet and still, it’s not enough,” she said.”
“I don’t think that we can out train our way as a country out of where we are and how we view race and how we interact with each other. I think that while we are doing it in our police departments there is clearly a bigger conversation that has to be had across the country because we are not in a post-racial society and the biases are still there.”
Bottoms, who said she watched video of the shooting for 30 minutes, said the incident was “not confrontational” and called Brooks, “a guy that you were rooting for.”
“Even knowing the end, watching it, you are going, ‘just let him go, just let him go, let him call somebody to pick him up,'” she said.”
There are huge red flags in the mayor’s statements, and that means future problems for Atlanta and the police force.
In her comments during the town hall, Mayor Bottoms is essentially saying that she wants Brooks to get a free pass on drunk driving. Brooks, according to the camera footage, blew 0.108 on the breathalyzer. That isn’t just a little over the legal limit of 0.08, that’s a lot over the legal limit. Bottoms wants the police to let Brooks call someone. Is this the mayor’s new standard on drunk driving? Stop them, and then let them go if someone can pick them up? What if no one comes? Are the police then allowed to make an arrest? Or do they let them go, possibly to hit or kill someone while driving? This is a deeply problematic stance by Mayor Bottoms, but will Atlanta media, or national media, follow up on what she means by this statement of “let him go, let him call somebody”?
Here’s another problem with Mayor Bottoms’s comments. She claims that “until Friday” – meaning when the Rayshard Brooks shooting happened – “I thought we were doing it right.” However, the mayor had two police officers FIRED for “excessive force” – in which the police used their tasers – during the Atlanta curfew on May 31st.
The two victims were Spelman College student Taniyah Pilgrim, 20, and former Morehouse College student Messiah Young, 22. The two were near downtown Atlanta when they were ordered out the vehicle. Body camera video shared by Atlanta police late Sunday shows an officer trying to remove the driver from the vehicle, which is stopped in the middle of the street. The incident occurred at Centennial Olympic Park Drive and Andrew Young International Boulevard.
The vehicle, a dark-colored sedan, drives a few yards before stopping behind several other vehicles in the roadway. One officer repeatedly yelled for the driver to stop the vehicle and open the window. That officer repeatedly struck the driver’s side window with a baton before smashing the window. The officer then tased the driver while another officer tased the passenger. Both people in the vehicle screamed for the officers to stop.
Gardner and Streeter are charged with aggravated assault — Gardner for using a Taser against 20-year-old Taniyah Pilgrim and Streeter for using a Taser against 22-year-old Messiah Young — according to warrants. https://t.co/LRJi09ilYV
Your eyes do not deceive you. The two fired officers, who were charged with assault and are now suing to get their jobs back, are black men.
So, which is it, Mayor Bottoms? Is a taser a deadly weapon or not? It suited you to fire two black police officers when they used tasers and batons. But Rayshard Brooks grabbed a taser off a police officer while resisting arrest. What are the police supposed to do in that moment, Mayor Bottoms?
But Streeter and Gardner were fired because your city and mayor thinks a taser was a deadly weapon in that case. So is it or not. Quit the BS.
Here’s the problem for the mayor of Atlanta. In the last two weeks, she’s had two black officers and one white officer fired. Mayor Bottoms apparently thinks the police are all one color – blue. However, when the people being policed are black, she wants a different standard than the law calls for. Don’t enforce an emergency curfew that she herself instituted? Don’t enforce drunk driving laws that she would likely support in any other circumstance?
Is the major lying about “doing it right” until last Friday? Is she conciously manipulating the Atlanta police force as the circumstances arise to suit her position of the moment? Now, these officers in these cases all might need to lose their jobs, and might need to be charged depending on their actions. That will be up to the judicial system to decide. But Mayor Bottoms seems to want to micromanage the Atlanta Police Department as well as run the city. And that will be a huge problem for law enforcement in Atlanta going forward.