ATLANTA — A man who was arrested by Atlanta Police hit a bizarre milestone Thursday – his 70th recorded arrest.
Police said 45-year-old Eddie Brantley was caught driving a stolen car, believed to belong to a Midtown resident who left their car running while picking up dry cleaning at 950 W. Peachtree Street on March 7.
A few hours after the car was reported stolen, officers spotted it near 98 Broad St. NW, near Woodruff Park. Officers stopped the vehicle and arrested Brantley for theft by receiving stolen auto.
Brantley has been previously arrested for armed robbery, burglary, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
On March 1, Fulton County District Attorney Paul L. Howard Jr. issued a letter to magistrate judges, stating his concern about what he called the “harmful” release of repeat offenders and others charged with violence and sex-related crimes.
“The Fulton County District Attorney’s Office has complained for many years that the issue of release by Fulton County Magistrate Judges is particularly harmful when it involves defendants who are arrested and charged with serious violent felonies,” Howard said in the letter. “In my opinion, the citizens of our county would feel more secure if the release of a repeat offender, a violent offender, or one involving a sex related crime was ordered by an elected Fulton County Judge, someone who has been vetted and selected by the community, and who is directly accountable to the community. This simply is not the case with an appointed Magistrate Judge.”
In his letter, Howard asked the magistrate judges to closely consider whether repeat and violent offenders should be allowed bond and proposed changes to release procedures.
He released a list of examples of convicted criminals, 11 in all, who were granted bond and released even when pre-trial services did not recommend it.
In a recent case, a man who was arrested by Atlanta Police for stealing TVs, a bike and some tools from an apartment on Ponce De Leon Avenue turned out to have been arrested 35 times prior.
43-year-old Christopher Bellamy was charged with burglary, theft and possession of tools to commit a crime. According to police, Bellamy is a convicted felon who, in addition to his 35 arrests, had two warrants for failing to appear. He was also said to be on active probation.
In 2015, the Atlanta Police Foundation’s CEO said the “most pressing issue facing law enforcement today in the city of Atlanta” was crime committed by repeat offenders.
The foundation led a report from the Atlanta Repeat Offender Commission, which was tasked by the mayor to investigate the problem. At the time, the commission discovered that 461 individuals had committed more than 14,000 crimes; of those individuals, just 16 of them received an actual prison sentence.
This last month, Buckhead residents met with Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms about an increase in crime. In a letter addressed to Bottoms, former city council member Mary Norwood claimed that several residents are concerned about increased crime and asked Atlanta Police to address the issue.
“We don’t have to feel like we are hijacked in our own city, like we have to look over our shoulder every 5 seconds,” one Buckhead resident said at a recent town hall meeting. “That’s no way to live.”
Residents complained about a series of home and car break-ins across the area.
“In our minds, for our command staff it was failure. We struggled last year with crime being up double digits,” said Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields. “It was sickening. We have thrust every imaginable resource up here. We have our teams out here in full force.”
The next town hall will be held Tuesday, March 19 at the Adamsville Recreation Center. Another one is planned on Thursday, March 28 at the Fanplex on Hank Aaron Drive.
The Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods will also hold a public safety crime meeting on Thursday, March 14.