An undetermined number of Atlanta police officers stayed away from duty Wednesday night after the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office filed charges of felony murder against a former officer involved in the shooting death of Rayshard Brooks.
The chore of separating rumor from reality was tricky, according to WAGA-TV, which reported that it received tips officers were walking off the job in large numbers, but also noted that Atlanta police pushed back against those reports in a tweet which admitted some officers were not showing up for duty.
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
“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,” the department tweeted.
Atlanta police also rebutted rumors that resignations have increased, saying that they are roughly on par with a usual year.
Brooks was shot dead Friday by now-former officer Garrett Rolfe, who on Wednesday was charged with felony murder by Fulton County District Attorney Paul L. Howard Jr.
In some video of the incident, Brooks appears to point a Taser he took from an officer at police as they were chasing him.
“Rolfe faces 11 charges, including felony murder, multiple counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, first-degree criminal damage to property, and two counts of violating of his oath as a public officer,” WAGA-TV reported.
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Officer Devin Brosnan, who was also on the scene, faces charges that include aggravated assault and violating his oath of office. Rolfe was dismissed from the force after Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said the officer who shot Brooks should be fired, while Brosnan was placed on administrative leave.
On Monday, Bottoms classified police morale as “really bad.”
Wednesday’s charges appeared to have pushed morale lower.
“We are getting calls now that two zones are looking to walk out,” Vince Champion, spokesman for the International Brotherhood of Police Officers, told WAGA-TV on Wednesday night.
Champion refused to speculate about whether the shooting or charges were justified.
“I’m not gonna make an assumption based on a video. I know nothing about. I’ve been a cop over 30 years. We go where the evidence leads us. Looking at videos and not knowing the whole thing — I don’t have an opinion,” he said.
Champion said police officers in Atlanta are not launching a formal action, but are signifying they are tired of having no support.
Police won’t operate under these conditions. Swaths of police officers are considering early retirement. We’re about to see a massive crime wave across America’s major cities, and it’s entirely the product of Leftist slander about cops. Atlanta is just the beginning.
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) June 18, 2020
Atlanta Mayor @KeishaBottoms should face reality and realize it’s impossible for #AtlantaPolice officers to remember their oath’s when the government they serve has forgotten it first. pic.twitter.com/hpb0i5yxLf
— Jonathan T Gilliam (@JGilliam_SEAL) June 18, 2020
“This is not an organized thing, it’s not a blue flu, it’s not a strike, it’s nothing like that. What it actually is is officers protesting that they’ve had enough and they don’t want to deal with it any longer,” Champion told NBC News’ Charlie Gile.
“This is not an organized thing, it’s not a blue flu, it’s not a strike, it’s nothing like that. What it actually is is officers protesting that they’ve had enough and they don’t want to deal with it any longer,” Champion says.
— Charlie Gile (@CharlieGileNBC) June 18, 2020
There was one thing of which Champion was certain.
“The morale is terrible,” he told WAGA-TV. “It’s the worse day in law enforcement in the city of Atlanta that’s ever been.”
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