Residents of Atlanta’s Buckhead district are looking at options for breaking away from Georgia’s capital and forming its own city.
A group of residents have gathered to form the Buckhead Exploratory Committee to petition Georgia to allow residents to vote on whether the district will stay a part of Atlanta or split off into its own municipality. The effort has raised over $600,000 so far, according to The Washington Post.
“The mayor and the city council have been making bad decisions, so at what point does anyone with a brain say, ‘Enough?’ ” Buckhead Exploratory Committee chairman Bill White said. “If crime is out of control and you are doing nothing about it, you are finished as a city.”
Buckhead’s angst with Atlanta’s leadership has been building as the city has been rocked by crime following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the mass riots spurred on by George Floyd’s death last May. Police morale plummeted last year after an officer was charged in the death of Rayshard Brooks, a black man who resisted arrest and attempted to tase an officer.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms acknowledged that the city was experiencing an unusual dearth of police on the streets in June of last year. Bottoms said that police morale is “down ten-fold.” As The Daily Wire reported:
“I think ours is down ten-fold,” Bottoms told CNN anchor Chris Cuomo in regard to Atlanta PD’s department morale. “This has been a very tough few weeks in Atlanta and 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 the police officers are receiving the brunt of it quite frankly.”
She went on to claim that the Atlanta city government has “a great working relationship with police” and that the issues with morale were temporary.
“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 that they could afford to live in the city of Atlanta, so they wouldn’t be resentful about policing our streets so that we could have the best to choose from on our force,” Bottoms told Cuomo. “We expect that our officers will keep their commitment to our communities.”
Some in Atlanta are resisting the Buckhead push to separate from the city, saying that other parts of the city are dealing with the same crime problems as Buckhead.
“It makes me angry because the crime they are seeing in Buckhead is the same crime we on the Southside have been dealing with for years,” said Stephanie Flowers, chair of Atlanta Neighborhood Planning Unit V, according to the Post. “We on the Southside, because of our demographics. We can’t pay our way out … This is just a way to separate the haves from the have-nots.”