The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Atlanta’s interim Police Chief Rodney Bryant was about to address the City Council on the unrest plaguing the city when a councilman informed Bryant:
I was just notified there was a young man who was just shot and killed at 377 Westchester Boulevard. Can you get a unit out there? He’s been on the ground and there’s no police who have come. He’s dead already, he’s on the ground and the residents have put a sheet over him and the police still haven’t arrived.
This incident isn’t the only sign that the wheels are coming off in Atlanta. From the same source:
On June 13, as angry protesters milled around the south Atlanta Wendy’s the day after Rayshard Brooks was shot in the parking lot by a cop — and hours before the restaurant was burned down — there was a wild shootout in the Edgewood neighborhood in east Atlanta. Five people were wounded and two were killed. Residents reported hearing perhaps 40 gunshots.
Earlier this month, the owners of a bar in the popular Edgewood Avenue nightlife district posted a photo online of the business’s window smashed by a bullet. They said they felt unsafe and were closing “until the city gets its #@&! together.” What caused this? Eight people were shot nearby in six days.
And there is this, regarding drive-by shootings:
Friday in south Atlanta, police found the body of 80-year-old Clarence Knox inside his home. Residents reported at least 20 shots the night before, and cops think he was the unintended victim of a drive-by shooting. And over the weekend there was this headline: “6 injured in 3 overnight drive-by shootings in Atlanta.” One of the victims is a 10-year-old boy.
Recent stats tell the same story:
During the first three weeks of this month — May 31 to June 20 — 75 people have been shot in Atlanta. Last year during that period, 35 people were shot in the city. . . .
Eleven people have been killed during that three-week period. Last year? Five.
As far as I know, other than the case of Rayshard Brooks who chose to resist arrest and take on two officers, none of these shootings was by the police.
The upsurge in violence is likely the result of plummeting police morale, which the city’s mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms, admitted “is down ten-fold.” And why shouldn’t morale have plummeted? It’s clear that, as the head of the police union in Atlanta says, the city doesn’t have the officers’ backs.
Scores of cops have called in sick, and “proactive” policing is now largely nonexistent. According to the union chief, “officers will respond to high-level calls and protecting each other,” but that’s about it.
Criminals know this, so it’s not surprising that they are taking advantage of the situation to shoot one another and anyone else who gets in the way.
I believe Mayor Bottoms gets this. However, she may have lost the good will (and then some) she obtained by pushing through a pay raise for the police when she fired officer Rolfe without a thorough investigation after the killing of Brooks.
As for the city council, it seems clueless. Only by a vote of 8-7 did it decide not to withhold funding from the police as a way to force “reforms.”
Now, the council has its reform. The police force has backed off. Black lives are being lost as a result.