One of the leading candidates in this year’s mayor’s race is clarifying her response to a question about racial profiling that came up during a Thursday night forum.
Mary Norwood was one of several candidates participating in a forum sponsored by Georgia Stand Up. During a rapid-fire Q&A session with moderator Rashad Richey, the candidates were asked, “Do you believe that racial profiling by police exists?”
The candidates were to respond to the questions by holding up a “yes” or “no” sign.
Instead of responding immediately, Norwood, who has been endorsed by the International Brotherhood of Police Officers Atlanta chapter, asked Richey to clarify whether he was asking about racial profiling nationally or in Atlanta, a response that elicited groans from the audience.
Richey responded that he was asking for participants’ opinion about racial profiling in general, which is when Norwood indicated “yes” with her sign.
On Friday, Norwood issued the following statement to clarify her answer.
“In no way was I suggesting that racial profiling isn't prevalent throughout the country.
“I certainly believe that Black lives matter, as I indicated without hesitation. I do not condone any forms of racial profiling or discrimination. My pause [when answering the question] was born out of showing deference and support for our APD officers who, to my knowledge, have not had reportedly high incidents of profiling; and who work hard every day to exercise good judgment while protecting our citizens.
“While there are bad officers who have committed wrongful acts and consequently have eroded the public trust, there are many good officers who work very hard to uphold their oath and duty to protect our citizens and not harm them.”
“I have always fought against discriminatory practices of ANY kind, and will continue to do so as Mayor. This is a complex issue that requires very thoughtful and deliberate efforts to effectively train our officers about racial profiling and discriminatory behavior, and to keep sensitivity foremost in their minds.
"As mayor, I will ensure that this is a priority; and no discriminatory or prejudicial practices or acts will be tolerated.”
In a July 2017 11Alive poll, Norwood held a solid lead over Atlanta City Council president Ceasar Mitchell, her closest competitor. Norwood came within 800 votes of defeating now-incumbent Kasim Reed in November 2009.