July 8, 2020

USA: Why No Outrage? Atlanta Shootings Surge, But It’s Not The Cops. 5 Dead, 31 Victims In Atlanta 4th Of July Weekend Shootings. 1 Killed, 4 Injured Drive-By Shooting On Tuesday June 30th.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
written by Bill Torpy
Monday June 29, 2020

The exchange was surreal, a sign that the wheels may be falling off public safety in Atlanta.

Fittingly, it happened Monday during the City Council’s Public Safety Committee hearing as council members and interim Police Chief Rodney Bryant were grappling with the unrest plaguing the city.

Councilman Antonio Brown, who represents the district just west of downtown, was getting ready to speak in the virtual meeting when he told the chief: “I was just notified there was a young man who was just shot and killed at 377 Westchester Boulevard. Can you get a unit out there? He’s been on the ground and there’s no police who have come. He’s dead already, he’s on the ground and the residents have put a sheet over him and the police still haven’t arrived.”

It sounds like Afghanistan: Can you please come and pick up the body?

But there’s more.

On June 13, as angry protesters milled around the south Atlanta Wendy’s the day after Rayshard Brooks was shot in the parking lot by a cop — and hours before the restaurant was burned down — there was a wild shootout in the Edgewood neighborhood in east Atlanta. Five people were wounded and two were killed. Residents reported hearing perhaps 40 gunshots.

Earlier this month, the owners of a bar in the popular Edgewood Avenue nightlife district posted a photo online of the business’s window smashed by a bullet. They said they felt unsafe and were closing “until the city gets its #@&! together.”

What caused this? Eight people were shot nearby in six days.

Friday in south Atlanta, police found the body of 80-year-old Clarence Knox inside his home. Residents reported at least 20 shots the night before, and cops think he was the unintended victim of a drive-by shooting.

And over the weekend there was this headline: “6 injured in 3 overnight drive-by shootings in Atlanta.” One of the victims is a 10-year-old boy.

Violence is off the chain in Atlanta.

During the first three weeks of this month — May 31 to June 20 — 75 people have been shot in Atlanta. Last year during that period, 35 people were shot in the city.

At this rate it’ll be 100 shot by July.

Eleven people have been killed during that three-week period. Last year? Five.

These are not police shootings. They’re civilians shooting civilians. They don’t carry the outrage and notoriety that a cop shooting someone will. But the victims are just as dead.

The carnage coincides with the protests of George Floyd’s killing in Minnesota. On May 29, demonstrations started in downtown Atlanta and things got crazy. Squad cars burned, stores were looted, and protesters and police clashed.

Sure, the overwhelming number of protesters are law-abiding and want positive change. But there are those up for mayhem. And as cops attend to them, the city’s criminals are emboldened.

“Crime doesn’t take a holiday,” said Councilman Michael Bond. “Crime doesn’t care about activists or protests. Crime doesn’t care about black men getting shot down in the streets. The criminals know the police are diverted. They are taking advantage of the situation.”

Bond was part of a council majority (8-7) that voted against withholding funding from the Atlanta Police Department budget as a way to force reforms.

“The irony about defunding to reform police is that residents in those areas are begging for more police,” he said. Many residents, especially those who are older, are frightened about crime and “don’t want the police to go away,” he said.

Then there’s this: Many cops have taken a more hands-off approach to policing following the arrests of six officers for using Tasers on two college students this month, and the arrests of two officers in the killing of Brooks. Cops are reticent to get out and deal with angry people in the streets.

A video shot after a shooting near the burned-out Wendy’s shows cops being forced back into their cars by a threatening crowd. In the third week of June, Atlanta cops made 50 traffic stops. In the corresponding period a year ago, they made 3,000. (Yes, those numbers are right.)

Scores of cops have called in sick, and the so-called “proactive” policing — which is investigating situations to try to stop crime before it occurs — is now largely nonexistent.

“Officers will respond to high-level calls and protecting each other,” said Jason Segura, a cop who heads the department’s union. He said the recent firings and quick arrests of officers without detailed investigations has police thinking the city does not have their backs.

He took issue with Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, who until now has had a good relationship with cops, having pushed through a long-awaited pay raise.

“She’s going to listen to the mob” in calling for arrests of and sanctions against police, Segura said. “This is politics and the citizens are suffering. Being proactive will probably get you indicted under the current state of affairs.”

In a statement, the mayor’s office said overall crime is down 17% in Atlanta. “But like some major cities, we have seen an increase among certain crimes as more people resumed activity outside their homes since the end of May. Now that bandwidth is less strained following weeks of demonstrations, APD resources are freed up to increase patrols on the streets and curb illicit activity,” the mayor’s office said.

I called Elbert Bartell, a Westside resident who used to head the local Neighborhood Planning Unit and who lives near where the body of an 18-year-old lay in the street. He was angered by the slow response.

“It’s just another example that police are more interested in themselves than the interests of the public,” he said. “We know they want to deliver a message to (the city administration). But in that, we lose. We lose with the brutality and then we lose when they pull back.”

He senses a bad vibe in the streets. “Everything is getting tense and the summer is just starting,” he said. “It is a free-fall. You ain’t seen nothing yet. It’s going to get buck-wild.”

Bartell said the city must “try to redefine the relationship between the public and police” and quickly hire a new chief, someone who “understands community policing and hard-nosed policing.”

But, he added, “The community has to step up. We have to get into violence management in the neighborhood. We can’t lump it all on police. We are letting it happen. Our nephews and nieces are shooting each other.”
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Man fatally shot at Atlanta gas station was helping driver with their car
written by Asia Simone Burns
Wednesday July 8, 2020

A man who was fatally shot Sunday — at the same gas station where an 8-year-old girl was killed the previous day — was trying to help someone with their car, according to Atlanta police.

Investigators said 53-year-old Christopher Brooks was aiding a driver when he was killed in a triple shooting at the Chevron on Pryor Road, police spokesman Officer Steve Avery told AJC.com.

When police arrived at the gas station about 7:20 p.m., officers found Brooks and one other person who appeared to have been shot.

Brooks was pronounced dead at the scene. The second victim, who was grazed by a bullet, was taken to a hospital and a third victim later arrived at Grady Memorial Hospital in a private car, according to police.

It is not clear if the person Brooks was helping was one of the other shooting victims.

The fatal shooting happened at the same time as a news conference where Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms denounced violence at the gas station after 8-year-old Secoriea Turner’s death. The child was shot while sitting in a car at the station, which is across the street from the Wendy’s parking lot where Rayshard Brooks was killed by an Atlanta police officer last month.

Atlanta police have not named any suspects in Christopher Brooks’ death. Anyone with information is asked to contact Atlanta police.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
written by Chelsea Prince
Tuesday June 30, 2020

One man is dead and four others are injured after a drive-by shooting in northeast Atlanta on Tuesday morning.

It is the latest in a string of drive-by shootings investigated by the Atlanta Police Department, including one incident Saturday night that injured a 10-year-old boy.

Shortly after 1 a.m. Tuesday, officers were called to the 600 block of Parkway Drive in the Old Fourth Ward neighborhood to investigate a report of a person shot. They found a 23-year-old man with multiple gunshot wounds.

The victim, identified by the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office as Marcus Sams, died after he was taken to a hospital. Four others injured in the same shooting showed up at a hospital in a private vehicle, police spokesman Officer Steve Avery said.

One of the four is in critical condition, while the others’ injuries are not considered life-threatening, he said.

“Detectives learned that the five victims were standing together on the sidewalk on Parkway Drive when a burgundy-colored Dodge, possibly a Challenger or Charger, drove up and the occupants of the vehicle began shooting at the victims,” Avery said in a statement.

Hours earlier, police were called to another drive-by shooting in the Bankhead neighborhood of northwest Atlanta. A 71-year-old man was shot in the chest when someone in a white vehicle opened fire, according to police.

The man was found about 9:15 p.m. Monday in the 1100 block of Joseph E. Boone Boulevard and taken to a hospital. He was stable Tuesday morning, Avery said. At least six others have been injured in drive-by shootings since Saturday. That night, officers responded to three separate incidents, two in northwest Atlanta and one in the southwest corner of the city.

The 10-year-old boy was among three people injured in a shooting at his apartment complex on Center Street. A 63-year-old woman was shot while sleeping on a sidewalk on Crew Street, and two others were injured in a drive-by shooting outside Revel Lounge on Ellsworth Industrial Boulevard, according to police. All five incidents are still under investigation, and police have not said if any suspects have been identified.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
written by Asia Simone Burns
Tuesday July 7, 2020

Gunfire and violence that broke out across Atlanta over the July Fourth holiday weekend left five people dead, including an 8-year-old girl, and 26 more injured, police said Monday.

From Friday through Sunday, police said there were 31 confirmed shooting victims in 11 incidents. Five of those victims were killed, according to spokesman Officer Steve Avery.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
written by Shaddi Abusaid
Saturday June 27, 2020

Three people, including a 10-year-old boy, were injured early Saturday during a drive-by shooting at a northwest Atlanta apartment complex, authorities said.

It was the first of at least three drive-by three shootings Atlanta police investigated overnight, none of which were fatal. Officers responded to the Rolling Bends Apartments on Center Street about 1:20 a.m., Atlanta police said in a statement. They arrived to find three people with gunshot wounds.

A 38-year-old woman told officers she was sitting outside with friends when a white Toyota and a Silver Nissan drove into the complex and began shooting at buildings, damaging at least eight units. A 20-year-old woman and a 10-year-old boy were also struck, police said.About 40 minutes later, officers were called to the 880 block of Crew Street in southwest Atlanta after a 63-year-old woman said she was shot in the wrist while sleeping on the sidewalk. The woman told officers she was lying down when a black pickup truck pulled alongside her and fired a single shot. She was taken to the hospital and is expected to be OK.

Two more men were injured just before 3:30 a.m. during a drive-by outside a northwest Atlanta nightclub. A 34-year-old told police he was in the parking lot of the Revel Lounge on Ellsworth Industrial Boulevard when shots were fired from a nearby car.

The man told officers he believed the shooting was the result of an earlier dispute inside the club, and that he was not the intended target. Officers later learned a second man was injured in the shooting and taken to Grady Memorial Hospital, police said Saturday. That victim, a 38-year-old, was in surgery and unable to speak with detectives.No arrests have been made, and all three shootings are still being investigated.

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