Did Atlanta Police Walk Off the Job in Protest?
After the death of Rayshard Brooks, murder charges were leveled against Officer Garrett Rolfe, 27, before the Georgia Bureau of Investigation completed their investigation. Rumors of Atlanta Police officers failing to answer calls, and some walking out were rampant as of Wednesday night. The Atlanta Police Department tamped down that narrative and said it wasn’t true…but others said something seemed amiss. (Fox5)
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
Those listening to the police radio traffic noted that there were extremely long periods of radio silence in at several of the zones.
I've been listening to Zone 6 Atlanta Police radio traffic for the last hour. There are 15 – 20 minute periods of absolute silence amid reports of officer walkouts. This clip was shared with @CherylPreheim by a police source. It's from Zone 3. The code 69 is Person With a Gun. pic.twitter.com/hkmbC5VF0Q
— Brendan Keefe (@BrendanKeefe) June 18, 2020
Just got this email from an Atlanta police officer:
"Atlanta police officers are refusing to answer the radio and walking off of the job. The county can go screw themselves. If you want a society without police we’ll give you one. Let it burn!"
— Steve Deace (@SteveDeaceShow) June 17, 2020
The head of the Police Union gave this statement:
“The DA’s office is going after us and we are not going to stand for it anymore, so officers just left – and I think that speaks more to it than if it were an organized thing. This wasn’t organized. This didn’t start happening until after the press conference when these officers saw what was happening to one of their own…
I’ve never seen anything this scary. The problem is what law enforcement is being told in the city of Atlanta right now is that even when you do your job as hard as it is, if they don’t like the way it looks they’ll fire you and attempt to put you in jail. The felony murder that they want to charge this officer with is imprisonment without the chance of parole, so you’re in prison for the rest of your life.” Vince Champion, International Brotherhood of Police Officers.
“The Georgia Bureau of Investigation was requested by the Atlanta Police Department on Friday night, June 12th, to investigate an officer involved shooting at the Wendy’s Restaurant on University Avenue. We are in the process of conducting this investigation. Although we have made significant progress in the case, we have not completed our work.
Our goal in every officer involved shooting case we are requested to review, is to complete a thorough, impartial investigation before we submit the file to the respective District Attorney’s Office.
The GBI was not aware of today’s press conference before it was conducted. We were not consulted on the charges filed by the District Attorney. Despite today’s occurrence, the GBI will complete its mission of completing an impartial and thorough investigation of this incident and we will submit the file, once completed, to the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office.”
Not only did DA Howard level the charges before the investigation was complete, it appears he lied about some aspects of the case. He claimed that Devin Brosnan, the other officer, was turning state’s evidence and testifying against Rolfe. But Brosnan’s attorney denied the allegation.
Don Samuel, a lawyer for Officer Devin Brosnan, says his client has not agreed to be a state’s witness, as District Attorney Paul Howard said, or to plead guilty to the charges. #RayshardBrooks
— Bill Rankin (@ajccourts) June 17, 2020
This just in: Officer Brosnan's attorney, Don Samuel, says "[Off. Brosnan] has not agreed to be a state’s witness. He has not agreed to plead guilty."
— Brendan Keefe (@BrendanKeefe) June 17, 2020
DA Howard claimed that Rayshard Brooks “never displayed any aggression.” But the struggle that ended with Brooks grabbing an officer’s taser and firing it belies that narrative. When Brooks ran with the taser he took from police, he was shot in the back, which was the problem that caused the charges. Rolfe is charged with 11 felonies, including the murder charge. His partner, Devin Brosnan was also charged. Both turned themselves into authorities on Thursday.
Keep in mind that Paul Howard, the DA who brought the charges is himself under criminal investigation for taking $140,000 from his nonprofit to supplement his salary, and sexual harassment. (Fox). He is in a tight runoff election with previous Fulton County employee Fani Willis that is set for August 11. Howard came in second in the primary election with just 35% of the vote. Were some of the charges political?
So…did members of the Atlanta PD walk off the job last night? It appears they did, and it’s all wound up in this political quagmire. The morale in the Atlanta PD is said to be at an all-time low, which does not bode well for the city.
One Twitter user said it all: “When the government tells you don’t panic…panic.” @sparkydaily
Featured photo: Screenshot Via Fox 5. L-Garrett Rolfe, R-Devin Brosnan