Democratic Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms suggested during a Monday interview on CNN that President Donald Trump was partly responsible for the death of an 8-year-old African-American girl in the city late last week.
Late on Saturday, Secoriea Turner was killed when a car she was riding in was shot up near the Wendy’s where Rayshard Brooks was killed last month after he resisted arrest and fired a taser in the direction of a pursuing officer.
CNN host Brooke Baldwin asked Bottoms how such a tragic incident could occur. “I want to just get right to Secoriea, 8 years of age. You said it over the weekend. She was a baby,” said Baldwin. “How could this happen?”
“I was listening to [Chicago] Mayor [Lori] Lightfoot, she summed it up,” Bottoms said. “We talk about systemic racism and the trauma and anxiety and all these things that are happening in our communities. And it is this convergence.”
“And I hate to use the word a perfect storm, but it’s where we are in this country right now,” Bottoms continued. “And you think about the leadership or the lack thereof that we have coming from the highest office in the land. I think that you are seeing so many emotions play out. And so, too often, it’s playing out in violence in our streets.”
Unhinged: Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms blames @realDonaldTrump for violence in her city.
CNN's Brooke Baldwin offers ZERO push back.
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) July 6, 2020
TRANSCRIPT PROVIDED VIA CNN:
CNN HOST BROOKE BALDWIN: With me now, the mayor of Atlanta, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. So, Mayor Bottoms, thank you so much for being with me. And I want to just get right to Secoriea, 8 years of age. You said it over the weekend. She was a baby. How could this happen?
KEISHA LANCE BOTTOMS (D), MAYOR OF ATLANTA, GEORGIA: You know, Brooke, that’s the question that we’re all asking ourselves.
And, ironically, I found a note on my desk, and I don’t even know the context in which I wrote this out. But I said, I don’t know the answers because I often don’t even know the questions to ask.
And I was listening to Mayor Lightfoot. She summed it up. We talk about systemic racism and the trauma and anxiety and all these things that are happening in our communities. And it is this convergence.
And I hate to use the word a perfect storm, but it’s where we are in this country right now. And you think about the leadership or the lack there of that we have coming from the highest office in the land. I think that you are seeing so many emotions play out.
And so, too often, it’s playing out in violence in our streets.
BALDWIN: I want to come back to this concept in the community of a perfect storm, but I do want to ask about the family first.
We know the family last night was calling on the community to work to help find who killed their daughter. Do you have an update, Mayor Bottoms, just on the search for Secoriea’s killer? Is there any progress there? And have you spoken with the family today?
BOTTOMS: I have not spoken with the family today, but we have received a number of tips. So we are encouraged by that.
There are so many peaceful people in the area and so many people who’ve been gathering in a peaceful way throughout our city over the past few weeks. So, this is — has not been received well by so many people of good conscience. And people are speaking up.
And, hopefully, we will have something more concrete soon.
And then you made it clear when you were speaking last night these are folks in the same community shooting each other. And as you also point out, you cannot blame police. Why?
BOTTOMS: Well, the point that I was hoping to make, and I hope that it was received that way in the way in which I was intending, the irony of this is that this is on a site that was supposed to be a tribute to a man who was killed by police, who spoke about his daughter’s eighth birthday the next day.
He spoke about her birthday party in his encounter with a police officer. And the irony was that, in — this place of peace and what should have been a place of honor and tribute turned into deadly violence.
There were two shooters is what Secoriea’s mothers said. One shot from that parking lot of the Wendy’s, and one shot from the parking lot that she was attempting to make a U-turn in. And so it is — there are separate issues, but the result is still the same.
There is injustice and there is police brutality in America, period. But there’s also this violence that’s erupting on our streets, often between people within the same community, that is also a problem.
And to someone like Secoriea’s parents to her nearly 50 loved ones who were with us on — yesterday, the result is still the same. Somebody who they love is gone. And I think that we have to deal with both of these issues, and we can’t deal with them if we want to put our heads in the sand and act as if they don’t exist.
BALDWIN: To that point, you said this last night — quote — “During the civil rights movement, there was a common enemy. Now we’re fighting from within.”
So two questions: How do you stop that infighting, and then what or who, in your view, is that common enemy?
BOTTOMS: Well, in the civil rights movement, there was a — there was this defined objective. And that objective was to receive equal rights for all Americans, particularly African-Americans, during that time.
This movement is a very different movement. It’s a more global movement. And I think that, at this moment in time, when you have so many people interested in making change across the globe, I don’t think that it is helpful to this movement, when it is being overshadowed by violence and things and instances that are taking away from the importance of this movement.
And so I think that this enemy that we have to confront is violence. And whether it’s violence from interactions with police officers, whether it’s violence within our communities, the impact is still the same on our communities. It’s destroying our communities.
And I think that they are equally important conversations. I think that we can have the same conversation. I think we can — we have the ability to have this conversation simultaneously.
But when you have a child, an 8-year-old child who is killed just feet away from the site where we are protesting the killing of an unarmed black man, then we have got to acknowledge that we have got some layers of issues in our communities, and we have got to confront them both with the same anger and with the same sense of urgency.
BALDWIN: Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, I appreciate you speaking up and out on this. And thank you for taking the time with me.
And, of course, our condolences to Secoriea’s family. Thank you.
BOTTOMS: Thank you.