At least three men brandishing guns were seen patrolling the area, with one of them telling Fox News that police officers aren’t allowed in the area.
Standing near a roadblock, one man said he was carrying a 12-gauge shotgun to protect himself and his people.
“Because, as you guys know, there is no police presence here, there’s no one else to protect us,” the unidentified black man said. “So me and my fellow brothers are here to protect each other.”
Men were at a BP gas station near the Wendy’s and standing across the street.
Asked what would happen if the police tried entering the area, the armed man said: “The police aren’t allowed here, because they’re not here to protect us.”
Felicia Moore, the Atlanta City Council president, said over the weekend that a group of “armed young men with long guns and pistols” were blocking off the Wendy’s.
“All businesses surrounding are boarded. The tension is in the air and emotions are raw. Police are not in sight. Is this Atlanta? No! We must rise up!” she said in a social media statement.
People who live nearby told WXIA the armed group is sometimes preventing local residents from passing through the roadblock.
Kimberlee Jones, president of the South Atlanta Civic League, a neighborhood association, said that her mother was stopped by the group.
“They wouldn’t let her through and she felt intimidated,” she said. Jones said police officers told her to stay away from the area.
Another local resident told WXIA that her car was vandalized when she tried driving through the area.
“They all had guns. They were all brandishing the guns to me from their waistbands,” Jennifer Edwards said. “And that they were going to shoot me in the back of the head if I did get away.”
In a statement to The Epoch Times, Atlanta police spokesman Steve Avery said the department is aware of what’s happening.
“APD is monitoring the situation and plans to coordinate with community leaders and the Wendy’s property owner to address security issues and help preserve peace for this community as soon as possible,” he said.
Requests for comment sent to the league and Moore weren’t immediately returned.
Interim Police Chief Rodney Bryant said at a press conference on Saturday: “We are the largest police department in the state and have the resources to ensure safety to our citizens. If you call 911, a police officer will respond.”
Several shootings have taken place in the area in recent days and WSB-TV reported that reporters witnessed one of the group assault a police officer who responded after a couple reported a mob stopped their car and attacked them.
“It’s scary to have someone come after you like that. We take their side. We weren’t being disrespectful. We were just trying to get on the interstate. I was hit in the arms and the face and legs with the boulder,” one of the alleged victims said.