Atlanta Activists Challenge Leaders to ‘Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is, Defund the Police’

Dustin Chambers/Getty Images
Dustin Chambers/Getty Images

Activists gathered in front of Atlanta’s City Hall on Monday, challenging leadership to “put your money where your mouth is” and “defund the police” following the officer-involved shooting death of Rayshard Brooks, who was killed in a Wendy’s parking lot on Friday evening after a confrontation with police officers.

Several activists flocked to Atlanta’s City Hall on Monday following the death of Brooks, who was fatally shot in a confrontation with police after resisting arrest, stealing an officer’s taser, and pointing it in his direction as he attempted to flee the scene, surveillance footage of the incident shows.

“Justice can’t wait. We need a date,” the crowd chanted, holding signs reading “Defund Atlanta Police” and “Defund APD.”

“We’re here today because yet again another black life has been snuffed out in the streets of Atlanta. I go to that Wendy’s all the time. All the time,” one of the speakers told the crowd. He went on:

And the idea that, because I was there, because I was sleepy, because I might have been a little intoxicated, that nobody would offer me a ride. No one would take my key. No one would make sure I got home. And, particularly, that no one who is supposed to protect and serve would offer me those options.

“Shame on us. Shame on us. There are no clean hands in this situation. We all are complicit with the oppression of black people,” he continued, leading the crowd in a chant of “defund the police” and “no justice no peace.”

Atlanta police have been proven to be “ineffective and dangerous,” he added, blasting the current budget proposal that calls for hiring additional police officers.

“Hell no,” he said, calling it a “tone deaf” response and ultimately demanding the department budget be cut by 50 percent “immediately.”

Later on, another activist spoke and issued a charge directly to Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D).

“She says she’s invested in southwest Atlanta. Put your money where your mouth is. Defund the police and reallocate the resources,” he demanded.

Tensions heightened in Atlanta on Saturday following the officer-involved shooting death of Brooks. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) detailed the incident, reporting that officers responded to a complaint of a man “parked in the drive thru asleep, causing other customers to drive around the vehicle.” Officers attempted to take Brooks into custody after he failed a sobriety test, but he resisted, resulting in a struggle between himself and the officers.

GBI, citing surveillance footage, wrote that “during a physical struggle with officers, Brooks obtained one of the officer’s tasers and began to flee from the scene.”

“Officers pursued Brooks on foot and during the chase, Brooks turned and pointed the Taser at the officer. The officer fired his weapon, striking Brooks,” GBI added.

As a result, protesters in Atlanta took to the streets on Saturday, blocking major roadways and lighting the Wendy’s, where the incident took place, on fire:

Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields resigned on Saturday following the unrest “out of a deep and abiding love for this City and this department.”

“I have faith in the Mayor, and it is time for the city to move forward and build trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve,” she stated.

Brooks’ death has been listed as a homicide.

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