Georgia Republican Governor Brian Kemp on Monday authorized up to 1,000 National Guard troops to be deployed to Atlanta after the city’s mayor, Democrat Keisha Lance Bottoms, failed to stop the escalating violence in her city.
“Peaceful protests were hijacked by criminals with a dangerous, destructive agenda. Now, innocent Georgians are being targeted, shot, and left for dead,” Kemp said in a statement. “This lawlessness must be stopped and order restored in our capital city. I have declared a State of Emergency and called up the Georgia Guard because the safety of our citizens comes first. This measure will allow troops to protect state property and dispatch state law enforcement officers to patrol our streets. Enough with the tough talk. We must protect the lives and livelihoods of all Georgians.”
Kemp’s statement said that the decision came after “weeks of dramatically increased violent crime and property destruction in the City of Atlanta” including the Fourth of July weekend where “over thirty Georgians wounded by gunfire, including five confirmed dead.”
“The Georgia Guard will provide support at state buildings, including the Georgia State Capitol, Georgia Department of Public Safety Headquarters, and Governor’s Mansion,” the statement said. “This aid will allow state law enforcement personnel to increase patrols on roadways and throughout communities, especially those in the City of Atlanta.”
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution noted that the order came after Kemp said he would take action if “Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms failed to do so, a move that highlighted the complicated, and increasingly tense, relationship between two of the state’s most prominent politicians.”
Kemp tweeted late on Sunday night: “This recent trend of lawlessness is outrageous & unacceptable. Georgians, including those in uniform, need to be protected from crime & violence. While we stand ready to assist local leaders in restoring peace & maintaining order, we won’t hesitate to take action without them.”
This recent trend of lawlessness is outrageous & unacceptable. Georgians, including those in uniform, need to be protected from crime & violence. While we stand ready to assist local leaders in restoring peace & maintaining order, we won’t hesitate to take action without them. https://t.co/NTacEm4v7o
— Governor Brian P. Kemp (@GovKemp) July 6, 2020
The death of 8-year-old Secoriea Turner, who was killed on Saturday evening near the Wendy’s where Rayshard Brooks was killed last month, drew national attention over the weekend.
“Enough is enough. Enough is enough,” Bottoms said during a press conference on Sunday. “We have talked about this movement that’s happening across America in this moment in time where we have the ears and the interest of people across this country and across this globe who were saying they want to see change. … We’re fighting the enemy within when we are shooting each other up on our streets in the city and you shot and killed a baby. And it wasn’t one shooter, there were at least two shooters. An 8-year-old baby. If you want people to take us seriously, and you don’t want us to lose this movement, then we can’t lose each other.”
“You can’t blame this on a police officer, you can’t say this is about criminal justice reform. This is about some people carrying some weapons who shot up a car with an eight-year-old baby in the car,” Bottoms added. “We got to stop this. We are doing each other more harm than any police officer on this force. We’ve had over 75 shootings in the city over the past several weeks. You can’t blame that on APD. So, I’m just asking you to please honor this baby’s life. Please, if you know who did this, please turn them in. These people are a danger to all of us.”
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