The Atlanta Police Department (APD) said on Wednesday evening that they are seeing a “higher than usual” number of police officers not coming in for their shifts. This comes just hours after Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard announced that the police officer who shot Rayshard Brooks last week was charged with felony murder.
The statement from APD came after numerous reports began to swirl online suggesting that police officers were walking off the job in response to Howard’s announcement.
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 & 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 on CNN during an interview with Chris Cuomo.
“Across the country, morale is down with police departments, and I think ours is down ten-fold. This has been a very tough few weeks in Atlanta, with the tragedy of Mr. Brooks and then on top of that, the excessive force charges that were brought against the officers involved with the college students, there’s a lot happening in our city and our police officers are receiving the brunt of it quite frankly,” Bottoms said. “What I will say is this, my administration’s had a great working relationship with our officers. In fact, our officers were given a historic pay raise by our administration, and it was so our officers wouldn’t have to work three jobs and be fatigued, so they could afford to live in the city of Atlanta, so that they would not be resentful about policing our streets, so that we could have the best to choose from on our force.”
Bottoms continued, “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.”
Cuomo followed Bottoms’ statement by asking: “Do you think that the charges that came down today against Officer Rolfe warrant this kind of potential revolt by police officers?”
“No, I don’t. I don’t,” Bottoms snapped back. “Everything in this country has changed. I think what is surprising to many is the swiftness of the charges in the same way it was surprising with the college students two weeks ago, simply because we don’t normally get charges this quickly.”
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms:
“Across the country, morale is down with police departments, and I think ours is down tenfold.” pic.twitter.com/rwVaCqwsux
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) June 18, 2020
When asked by Cuomo how many officers were calling out in this “apparent revolt,” Bottoms responded: “Well, we don’t have a count yet because we were in the midst of a shift change, but what I do know is that we do have enough officers to cover us through the night.”
“Our streets won’t be any less safe because of the number of officers who called out,” she added. “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.”
"We do have enough officers to cover us through the night," says Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms amid reports officers are calling in sick.
"Our streets won't be any less safe because of the number of officers who called out," she adds. "…We will be fine." pic.twitter.com/3X8Q4tglPb
— Cuomo Prime Time (@CuomoPrimeTime) June 18, 2020
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