ATLANTA — Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms issued seven orders on Wednesday designed to rein in use-of-force by police.
With weeks of protests happening around the country following the George Floyd case in Minneapolis, Atlanta was also put in the nation's spotlight after the police shooting of Rayshard Brooks.
And prior to that incident, two college students who were driving near the scene of protests in Downtown Atlanta were tased.
The May encounter escalated quickly – with officers running after a car driven by a college student with his girlfriend. The end result – criminal charges dropped against the motorists, and charges filed against the officers.
With protests, Brooks, and the George Floyd case as the backdrop, Bottoms issued orders that she hopes will restrict Atlanta police conduct without eroding police morale.
"I don’t have any concerns about hamstringing police. I think if anything, it gives them better guidance. Because that’s something we heard repeatedly, that there was just confusion," Bottoms stated.
The mayor wants the city to create guidelines that would:
- Allow officers to intervene when other officers use unreasonable force
- Curb retaliation against officers intervening
- Develop techniques to de-escalate conflicts
- Revise evaluations of officers which would disincentivize certain arrests and incentivize alternatives
- Create an online dashboard with ongoing use-of-force data and other police records
The president of the International Brotherhood of Police Officers, Local 624, Jason Segura, said that changing the use of force guidelines will make officers lose confidence. In the days after fired APD Officer Garrett Rolfe was charged with murder, many of his former co-workers called out sick. Some even called out sick for multiple shifts.
"That becomes dangerous," Segura said. "So if you don’t want us to arrest people who resist, then we just need the mayor to tell us, don’t arrest people who resist. We’ll follow that order. It’s not gonna make the city safer. But it’s going to make officers jobs a lot clearer."
Mayor Bottoms said new curbs on police use of force are a work in progress. She said it is necessary to rebuild trust in Atlanta communities that have become wary of police.
You can read more about mayor's actions on the city's website.