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Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms Doesn't Have the Courage to Clear a Wendy's Parking Lot and Now a Little Girl Is Dead

The uptick in shootings that have plagued Atlanta for the last month continues unabated. On Sunday night, it claimed the life of 8-year-old Secoriea Turner because she was in a car doing a U-turn to avoid the infamous Wendy’s that armed protestors declared as a shrine to Rayshard Brooks.

Atlanta’s CHOP

“Protestors” have alternately erected barricades around the charred fast-food restaurant in recent weeks, and the police have been clearing them. The protestors placed the barriers again Saturday night. Effectively, Atlanta has a mini-CHOP. And just like in Seattle, city leaders have been negotiating with these “protestors.”

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Councilwoman Joyce Sheperd, along with neighborhood leaders and others, had been working on negotiations with the people who occupied the Wendy’s in recent weeks, but the talks fell through Thursday.

Sheperd said the people on the Wendy’s site were told Thursday that, because the negotiations had soured, the city would be barricading the parking lot. The plan was to install the barricades that very day, but the city didn’t have the type of permanent barriers it wanted to use.

The task was put off until Monday, when the correct materials were expected to be in hand.

Atlanta City Council President Felicia Moore, who had been helping Sheperd, said one of the demands those occupying the property had was for the city to replace the Wendy’s with a community center or a facility devoted to promoting peace. They had a name: The Rayshard Brooks Peace Center.

“We kept trying to express to them that the city didn’t own the property,” Moore said Sunday. “We couldn’t negotiate with them on something that we didn’t own.”

We should all just pause here to admire the irony of anything named the Rayshard Brooks Peace Center. Following the shooting, Atlanta Police Department homicide detective Al Hogan did a narrow analysis of the events leading up to the shooting after being called to the scene. Had Mr. Brooks lived, Detective Hogan would have filed ten charges against him for the incident. Hogan said there would have been federal charges as well, but he did not complete that assessment because he was notified Mr. Brooks had died.

Detective Hogan’s analysis included the following charges:

  1. DUI/DUI Less Safe, a violation of OCGA 40-6-391 
  2. Felony Obstruction, Two counts, a violation of OCGA 16-10-24
  3. Aggravated Assault against a Police Officer, Two Counts, a violation of OCGA 16-5-21
  4. Battery against a Police Officer, Two counts, a violation of OCGA 16-5-23.1
  5. Theft by Taking, a violation of OCGA 16-8-2
  6. Removal of Weapon from a Public Official, a violation of 16-10-33
  7. Robbery, a violation of OCGA 16-8-40.1

Peaceful stuff right there. This incident would have also constituted a parole violation since Brooks was released early from a sentence for previous crimes.

Mayor Bottoms Needs A Plan

Here is the bottom line. The mayor’s emotional speeches aren’t going to stop the shootings. While she gained national prominence after the last one, nothing changed. Violent protests and looting continued, and now her city has an occupied zone. As if further proof was needed, an hour after her emotional pleas, three more people were shot, with one dying at the scene. These shootings occurred in the same neighborhood where Secoriea died.

This tragedy happened after there were 20 shootings with three killed over the holiday weekend. Mayor Bottoms needs a plan, and she needs one fast. Members of the City Council agree:

City Council President Felicia Moore said she was up until 4 a.m. Sunday talking to constituents alarmed by the spasm of violence overnight.

“This type of behavior is unacceptable and cannot be tolerated,” Moore said. “A strong message needs to be sent, and so I’m saying it, and I certainly hope we will hear from the chief and the mayor in the same vein, that this is unacceptable and cannot continue.”

Mayor Bottoms’ actions over the last month will make stemming the violence challenging in a city that had seen consistent improvements in violent crime since 2003. She has demoralized and alienated her police force. Even adjacent jurisdictions will not send in help after the way the mayor and her DA Paul Howard have treated officers dealing with violent protests.

She has one person to turn to, and my sense is she loathes to do it. Governor Brain Kemp has offered help and is now saying if the violence doesn’t get abate, he will act without being asked.

It Will Only Get Worse

Mayor Bottoms doesn’t just need to worry about next weekend and the weekend after. She needs to worry about the next year. As the trials of Officers Garrett Rolfe and Devin Bronson proceed, it will become evident that the most severe charges filed will not meet the sniff test. They were filed by a politically craven DA pandering to a mob in the face of a crisis.

Further, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation has not completed their investigation of the shooting. Should their conclusions differ fundamentally from the assessment of DA Howard, it could create an immediate crisis for law enforcement in the city. Howard should never have brought charges before the conclusion of the investigation and without empaneling a grand jury.

The comedy of errors and bad judgment from Atlanta city leaders has lead to unneeded tragedy. An eight-year-old girl is dead because Mayor Bottoms’ administration can’t clear a Wendy’s parking lot. This is simply unconscionable. They need to stop negotiating with terrorists and put an end to this now.