Veteran of the 1960s civil rights movement and former Mayor of Atlanta, Andrew Young, offered some blunt advice to a room full of fatigued Atlanta police officers, saying, “Don’t let anybody get you upset.”
“Those are some unlovable little brats out there sometimes,” Young said Sunday in a meeting with about a dozen officers at a southwest Atlanta precinct. “These kids are able to show off with no consequences. I just hope they get tired of it.”
Young’s comments were in response to a string of protests in his city, budding tumult seen in cities around the country following last week’s police-involved deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, and the ambush and murder of five Dallas police officers at the hands of Houston New Black Panther Party member Micah X. Johnson.
Atlanta police Chief George Turner called in the civil rights legend to talk to his police force, to provide encouragement and his wisdom on how to wade through tough times.
“They’ve been in the heat so long we don’t want them to lose their cool,” Chief Turner said.
A day after the police shootings in Dallas, a man was arrested for allegedly opening fire on a police officer in Roswell, Georgia, located just 20 miles north of Atlanta.
Young said the people taking to the street and protesting today don’t have a “clear message.”
The 84-year-old former U.S. ambassador fears the protesters may hamper Atlanta’s economic gains and “mess up the climate we have taken 50 years to build.”