News & Politics

'Higher Than Usual' Number of Atlanta Police Officers Call in Sick

Atlanta Police Department via AP

A “higher than usual” number of Atlanta police officers have called in sick today, as their union says they are protesting charges being filed against the officer who shot and killed Rayshard Brooks.

But the police department assured citizens they were fully able to respond to 911 calls.

AJC:

Neither Atlanta police nor a local union representative confirmed the number of officers involved.

Vince Champion, Southeast regional director for the International Brotherhood of Police Officers, told the AJC he could not confirm which police zones were affected.

“There are officers walking off,” Champion said Wednesday evening. “There are officers saying they are not going to leave the precinct unless to help another officer. Some are walking off and sitting in their personal vehicles.”

Of course, the city is going to say that there’s nothing to see here, move on…

Brooks escaped custody after grappling with police and was shot fleeing the scene after pointing a taser that he took from one of the officers who was trying to arrest him.

While the city won’t say how many officers called out sick, the police department reached out to neighboring jurisdictions for help. It didn’t work out well for them.

Champion said he has been told APD was attempting to get back-up support from adjacent law enforcement agencies. But he said some agencies declined to help.

“Why would you put your officer in Fulton County and take the chance of this happening?” Champion said. “You have an officer who just heard what Paul Howard said, saying he’s going to be in prison for the rest of his life or put to death, and now he’s got to surrender.”

Atlanta police declined to say whether the agency requested assistance from other agencies.

After demanding that the officers involved in the Brooks shooting be fired, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms seems perplexed at the response of her department.

In an interview Wednesday night on CNN, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said morale among officers is down with the city’s police department.

“Across the country, morale is down with police departments, and I think ours is down tenfold,” she said.

Is this the future of big city policing? What cop in their right mind is going to involve themselves in any situation that could escalate like this one? Good cops will always be there. But most police officers will play it safe. They want to go home to their wives and kids at night and not have to go through the ordeal the two Atlanta officers are being forced to endure.

The murder of George Floyd was a questionable use of a restraining technique that many police departments have already banned. But the killing of Brooks, who overpowered two officers, stole a weapon and tried fleeing the scene, would be judged — in calmer times — a good shoot.

But in Atlanta, in the summer of 2020, they are murderers and will stand trial for doing their jobs.