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Atlanta Mayor Slammed After Surge Of Murders, Responds, ‘I Welcome The Suggestions’

Atlanta Mayor Slammed After Surge Of Murders, Responds, ‘I Welcome The Suggestions’


 

After a surge in murders in her city and harsh criticism from a city councilman who accused the city’s administration of lying about the “steady outflow of our officers,” Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, who reportedly had been considered for a position in presumptive President-elect Joe Biden’s cabinet, responded by saying, “If there are solutions that we have not explored and enacted, I welcome the suggestions.”

As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported, “Atlanta’s homicide count is the highest it’s been in more than two decades following a violent Christmas weekend that left three people dead across the city.”Last week, a seven-year-old girl, Kennedy Maxie, was shot in the head by a stray bullet while she was Christmas shopping with her family. She died on Saturday night.

City Councilman Howard Shook appeared to blast both Bottoms and Atlanta Police Interim Chief Rodney Bryant last week, asserting, “I don’t want to hear the word ‘uptick.’ Stop minimizing our concerns by telling us that ‘crime is up everywhere. Spare us from the lie that the steady outflow of our officers isn’t as bad as it is. And please, not another throw-away press conference utterly devoid of game-changing action steps.” The Journal-Constitution noted, “Both Bottoms and Atlanta police Interim Chief Rodney Bryant have used similar language when discussing the spike in homicides in recent months.”

Bottoms responded that focusing on violence across the nation is “not an abdication of responsibility, but an acknowledgement of the widespread severity of this issue. … While we continue to keep public safety as a top priority, senseless gun violence continues to impact innocent lives. If there are solutions that we have not explored and enacted, I welcome the suggestions, as I am always open to making the city that I am raising my children in a safer place for us all.”

In response to Maxie’s death, Bottoms stated, “Our hearts are broken by the senseless murder of Kennedy. While the Atlanta Police Department has significant leads in the apprehension of those responsible, it does not erase the pain felt when a beautiful, vibrant and loving child is tragically taken from her family. We urge the public to continue to provide information that will lead to the arrests of the careless and heartless people responsible for Kennedy’s death.”

11 Alive reported on December 9: “The Atlanta Police Department says it is operating with fewer police officers now than it was at the start of the year. According to the department, there are 1,603 officers currently on the force, about 400 short of its ‘authorized strength’ of 2,046 total officers.

Atlanta police spokesman Steve Avery stated, “We have been operating at less than full staffing for a while. The numbers fluctuate as people come and go.” He added that the turnover is “not out of line with what we are seeing with numerous departments across the nation today, due to the current climate surrounding policing in United States. The reasons for the attrition are varied, we have some officers opting for retirement, some deciding to pursue other careers outside of policing entirely, as well as officers taking advantage of opportunities with other departments outside of Atlanta.”


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