In the wake of yet another officer-involved shooting, the name Rayshard Brooks now joins a long list of countless other victims whose names we will never forget. Although the death of George Floyd was the catalyst, sparking outrage and protests around the world; Brook’s death resulted in the near-immediate arrest of the officers involved leaving one with eleven felony murder charges. This kind of swift justice is exactly what the public has been calling for; however, police officers in Atlanta seem to have a different opinion.
For two days in a row now, Atlanta officers have been calling out of work. In a statement, the Atlanta Police Department said, “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.” While the department disputed claims that multiple officers walked off the job in various zones around the city, Regional Director of the International Brother of Police Officers, Vince Champion, gave a more accurate depiction of what’s truly going on. According to reports, Champion states, “They’re just fed up. I mean, their Mayor has come out and said everything that they used to do with use of force is not valid — ‘Don’t do it’ — so I don’t know how we defend ourselves when people want to fight us.” He went on to say, “Some were just refusing to leave the precincts unless an officer needed help.”
The Police Union isn’t considering this a “strike” as they claim to have had no prior knowledge of what the officers were planning to do, and the incidents do not appear to be organized. In spite of official statements, it’s clear that as tensions grow in Atlanta and across the US, the police force as a whole remains committed to having challenges with accepting the proposed changes of defunding and being held accountable for their actions.
In response to this, Atlanta Mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms stated, “There’s a lot happening in our cities, and our police officers are receiving the brunt of it, quite frankly.” She continued, “We expect that our officers will keep their commitment to our communities.” In an effort to boost the low morale of the officers, the Atlanta Police Foundation is providing every officer an immediate $500 bonus.
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