Police officers in the Atlanta Police Department are reportedly not responding to calls in multiple zones which comes after the department acknowledged that they were experiencing a higher than usual number of police officers calling out prior to the start of their shifts.
The news comes after Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard announced felony murder charges against officer Garrett Rolfe on Wednesday for his involvement in the death of Rayshard Brooks, who was driving drunk, resisted arrest, got into a physical altercation with police, took a taser from a police officer, tried to run, and fired a taser in Rolfe’s direction. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said that its investigation into the incident was not complete when the charges were announced and that it was not consulted by Howard.
“Atlanta police officers are not responding to calls in three of the department’s six zones,” CNN reported, citing multiple sources within the Atlanta Police Department. “Atlanta police officers each patrol one of six zones covering some 500,000 residents who live in the city limits. They also cover Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.”
Brendan Keefe, Chief Investigator at Atlanta’s WXIA 11Alive, wrote on Twitter: “I’ve been listening to Zone 6 Atlanta Police radio traffic for the last hour. There are 15 – 20 minute periods of absolute silence amid reports of officer walkouts. This clip was shared with [Cheryl Preheim] by a police source. It’s from Zone 3. The code 69 is Person With a Gun.”
I've been listening to Zone 6 Atlanta Police radio traffic for the last hour. There are 15 – 20 minute periods of absolute silence amid reports of officer walkouts. This clip was shared with @CherylPreheim by a police source. It's from Zone 3. The code 69 is Person With a Gun. pic.twitter.com/hkmbC5VF0Q
— Brendan Keefe (@BrendanKeefe) June 18, 2020
The Atlanta Police Department released a statement on Wednesday to address widespread rumors that were circulating on social media that numerous officers were walking off the job.
APD tweeted: “Earlier suggestions that multiple officers from each zone had walked off the job were inaccurate. The department is experiencing a higher than usual number of call outs with the incoming shift. We have enough resources to maintain operations [and] remain able to respond to incidents.”
Earlier suggestions that multiple officers from each zone had walked off the job were inaccurate. The department is experiencing a higher than usual number of call outs with the incoming shift. We have enough resources to maintain operations & remain able to respond to incidents.
— Atlanta Police Department (@Atlanta_Police) June 18, 2020
Atlanta Democrat Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms responded to the situation during a CNN interview on Wednesday evening, saying that it “has been a very tough few weeks in Atlanta.”
“Across the country, morale is down with police departments, and I think ours is down ten-fold,” Bottoms said. “And so what I would say is, in the same way our administration’s made that commitment to our officers, we expect our officers will keep their commitment to our communities.”
Bottoms, who is reportedly in the running to be a vice presidential candidate for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, said that she did not know how many officers called out but assured residents that they had enough officers to keep the streets safe.
Bottoms said, “But it’s just my hope again that our officers will remember the commitment that they made when they held up their hand and they were sworn in as police officers.”
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