Rumors insinuated that Atlanta police department had call-ins from officers Wednesday as officer Garret Rolfe was charged with murder.
What We Know:
- Garret Rolfe, the officer who fatally shot 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks, was charged with felony murder charges on Wednesday. Hours after the charges were announced, a large number of Atlanta police officers called in “sick” during Wednesday’s evening shift.
- As emergency calls began to ensue, the city was left scrambling to cover the absences of so many officers. Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms tried to quiet down rumors of a walkout saying “We do have enough officers to cover us through the night”. Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms continued, “Our streets won’t be any less safe because of the number of officers who called out”. The Atlanta police department also tried to quiet down rumors.
Earlier suggestions that multiple officers from each zone had walked off the job were inaccurate. The department is experiencing a higher than usual number of call outs with the incoming shift. We have enough resources to maintain operations & remain able to respond to incidents.
— Atlanta Police Department (@Atlanta_Police) June 18, 2020
- According to NBC News, a walkout was in fact the case for a large number of call-ins on Wednesday, though the call-out was not organized. Throughout Wednesday night, call-ins increased as officers went radio silent and only responded to back up calls. Many stated that the call-ins were in fact a “blue-flu” in other words an actual police strike. The call-in strategy was due to the fact that walk-outs are legally forbidden in many jurisdictions.
- “This is not an organized thing, it’s not a blue flu, it’s not a strike, it’s nothing like that,” Vince Champion, a spokesman for the International Brotherhood of Police Officers, told NBC News. “What it actually is is officers protesting that they’ve had enough and they don’t want to deal with it any longer.”
- Champion went on to say that many officers felt that prosecutors had not shared enough evidence to charge Rolfe with murder. Trump in the midst of him signing an executive police reform suggested on a Sean Hanity show, that the incident was Brooks’ fault. “I thought it was a terrible situation, but you can’t resist a police officer”.
- Trump goes on to state “I hope he gets a fair shake because police have not been treated fairly in our country…..But again, you can’t resist a police officer like that. And they ended up in a very terrible disagreement and look at the way it ended. Very bad. Very bad.”
- The weeks in Atlanta have been very tempestuous, as Brooks’ fatal video was released to the public. Days later, the Wendy’s where it happened was burned down to the ground. Mayor Bottoms called for Rolfe to be fired which proceeded to happen on Sunday. Shortly after, former police chief Erika Shields resigned, and a week after Rolfe and assisting officer Brosnan had been criminally charged.
- Many civilians have praised the quick actions brought upon Atlanta’s police department, while many officers believe that everyone is against them. Bottoms stated that she was more worried about the detriment of Atlanta’s police morale. “The thing that I’m most concerned about is how we repair the morale in our police department,” Bottoms said on CNN, “and how do we ensure our communities are safe as they interact with our police officers”.
Atlanta contiunes to try to get the police and civilians on one accord as the separation continues to deepen.