A 'higher than usual' number of Atlanta police officers call out after former colleague charged with murder over the killing of Rayshard Brooks
Renault Verona (right) and other residents cleared the area on Sunday, June 14, 2020, where demonstrators set fire to the Atlanta Wendy on Saturday, and Rayshard Brooks, a 27-year-old black man, went to police on Friday in Atlanta was shot dead during a fight in a Wendy thoroughfare. (Steve Schaefer / Atlanta Journal constitution via AP)
The Atlanta Police Department said on Wednesday that "there were more missions than usual".
The calls come after two officials were charged with the murder of Rayshard Brooks, who was shot after falling asleep in a Wendy passage.
"Police morale is poor across the country," Keisha Lance Bottoms, Mayor of Atlanta, told CNN.
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Atlanta police officers stopped working more than usual on Wednesday evening, hours after one of their former colleagues had been charged with murder of Rayshard Brooks for murder.
Garrett Rolfe, who was released after a video showed him shooting Brooks in the back, faces a total of 11 charges, District Attorney Paul L. Howard Jr. said on Wednesday. Another officer, Devin Brosnan, faces three charges, including a serious attack.
Brooks was killed after the police received a phone call saying that he had fallen asleep in his car while sitting in a Wendy passage. After he was shot, Rolfe is said to have kicked Brooks' body.
The Atlanta police department denied that, despite right-wing commentators' claims that some areas of the city were completely unoccupied, there had been outages.
"The department recorded a higher number of missions than usual with the incoming shift," the department tweeted on Wednesday evening. "We have enough resources to maintain operations and continue to respond to incidents."
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said she supported the charges announced Wednesday and described the speed with which they were announced as "the new normal." But she suggested that this and the protests that shook the city could affect local law enforcement agencies.
"Police morale is poor across the country," Bottoms told CNN, "and I think ours has dropped tenfold. It was a very tough couple of weeks in Atlanta."
Bottoms insisted that despite the calls, the city had enough officials to make it through the night. "We'll be fine," she said. "What I'm most concerned about is how we fix morale in our police department and how we make sure that our communities are safe when they interact with our police officers."
Recent history suggests that reducing police efforts may not lead to an increase in crime. In late 2014 and early 2015, New York police officers "slowed down" to protest the criticism they received from the mayor and the public. During that time, a study found that "civil complaints about serious crimes decreased by about 3% to 6%," the Los Angeles Times reported.
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