About 170 Atlanta police officers reportedly called in sick last week after two officers were charged in the fatal shooting of Rayshard Brooks.
“What’s clear from the documents is that most of the officers called in sick last Friday and that most of them worked downtown, where the center of protests have been,” WSB-TV reported.
However, the city appeared to downplay the so-called “Blue Flu” protest numbers early on, retired Atlanta police Detective Vince Velasquez told the outlet.
“The public should know that’s a significant amount of police officers who did not come to work during that time period,” he commented.
Last week, Interim Chief Rodney Bryant said that although the sick calls began Wednesday night and continued into Thursday, the department had enough officers to protect the city, according to the Associated Press (AP).
“Some are angry. Some are fearful. Some are confused on what we do in this space. Some may feel abandoned,” he said of the police officers. “But we are there to assure them that we will continue to move forward and get through this.”
Despite Bryant’s assurances, some officers told Velasquez they were afraid to “commit to a process and feel like they’re doing the right thing, feel like they’re doing their jobs, and then face not just disciplinary action, but prosecution.”
“This is a unique case because some of the charges that were brought up with these officers were policy violations that were turned into oath-of-office crimes that were alleged by the DA, and some of these things are completely foreign to all of us,” he continued.
Many Atlanta officers reportedly walked off the job in protest on June 17, just hours after charges were filed against former officer Garrett Rolfe and Officer Devin Brosnan in the Brooks case, Breitbart News reported.
Eight Atlanta police officers have resigned since the beginning of June.