8 Atlanta Police Officers Resigned This Month as Morale Drops

June 16, 2020 Updated: June 16, 2020

Eight police officers in Atlanta have resigned since June 1, police officials said.

The number of resignations per month is typically two to six.

The Atlanta Police Department (APD) issued a statement saying eight officers resigned this month after the Atlanta Police Foundation said 19 officers resigned in the past week.

“We have checked with the source of that claim and they are planning to issue a retraction of that statement because it is not correct and was not verified by APD,” the police department stated.

Current information shows eight officers have resigned since June 1, according to the department.

In a statement later Monday, the foundation acknowledged the number it shared wasn’t accurate, attributing the error to “a miscommunication.”

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Montgomery County, Md., police officer and instructor Craig Dickerson demonstrates an X2 Taser during a demonstration at the department’s training academy in Rockville, Md., in a 2016 file photograph. (Gary Cameron/Reuters)

The resignations came after a series of events that included six officers being charged for allegedly using excessive force while arresting two college students and the fatal shooting of Rayshard Brooks, a black man who stole an officer’s stun gun and fired it at him before the officer shot him.

People upset over the shooting, which came after Brooks resisted arrest, burned down the Wendy’s where the altercation occurred. Police Chief Erika Shields, who entered the role in December 2016, resigned a day after the June 12 shooting.

Dave Wilkinson, the Atlanta Police Foundation’s CEO, said that this is the third straight week “of unabated protests in which officers have worked 12-hour shifts seven days per week.”

“As you can imagine, their stress levels are exacerbated by physical and emotional exhaustion,” he said in a statement sent to news outlets.

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A Wendy’s burns following a rally against alleged racial inequality and the police shooting death of Rayshard Brooks, in Atlanta, Ga., June 13, 2020. (Elijah Nouvelage/Reuters)

“We are grateful for the sacrifices they are making every day and will continue to support them while accelerating the programs under the Atlanta Police Foundation’s mission in order to address police reform and other issues the protests and their aftermath have illuminated,” Wilkinson added.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, a Democrat, said the morale in the police department “is bad right now.”

“My understanding is, it’s really bad, and understandably so,” she told reporters at a press conference. “It’s bad across the country because of what’s happening across the country and the scrutiny and focus and a lot of the anger and frustration that’s directed at our police department. And I don’t think Atlanta is any different.”

Bottoms announced at the briefing that she would sign a series of orders that adjust how and when police use force.

Any deadly force will have to be reported to a citizen’s review board and officers who witness others using force they feel isn’t reasonable are required to intervene.

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