The Atlanta Police Department issued a statement late Wednesday that dismissed suggestions that a large number of police officers had walked off the job.
“Earlier suggestions that multiple officers from each zone had walked off the job were inaccurate,” Atlanta Police announced on Twitter.
The department noted that “a higher than usual number” of officers have called out of work with the incoming shift, but asserted that it has “resources to maintain operations and remain able to respond to incidents.”
Earlier suggestions that multiple officers from each zone had walked off the job were inaccurate. The department is experiencing a higher than usual number of call outs with the incoming shift. We have enough resources to maintain operations & remain able to respond to incidents.
— Atlanta Police Department (@Atlanta_Police) June 18, 2020
A number of highly-circulated social media posts late Wednesday claimed that a high number of police officers in Atlanta have walked off the job or called in sick. The Epoch Times has been unable to independently verify the claims in the social media posts, which cite either anonymous sources or have no sources.
Jason Segura, president of the International Brotherhood of Police Officers, Atlanta chapter, told Fox News that Atlanta officers were leaving either by calling out, quitting, or transferring to other jurisdictions. He said he “can’t confirm the number” who have departed the Atlanta Police Department.
According to the news station, Segura said the departing officers were concerned over a lack of due process whereby Garret Rolfe was fired immediately after Brooks’s death—instead of being suspended, investigated, and then potentially fired. Segura also reportedly accused the district attorney of having political motives in rushing the case.
CNN reported that “multiple unnamed sources” within the Atlanta Police Department said that officers have not been responding to calls in three of the department’s six zones.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms told the station late Wednesday that her city’s police department’s morale “is down ten-fold” amid reports that officers were calling in sick for the night. She also said that her administration had given the officers a “historic pay raise” and, “We expect that our officers will keep their commitment to our communities.”
“We do have enough officers to cover us through the night,” she added. “Our streets won’t be any less safe because of the number of officers who called out. But it is just my hope again that our officers will remember the commitment that they made when they held up their hand and they were sworn in as police officers.”
Brooks died on the night of June 12. Police officers on the night found Brooks at a Wendy’s drive-through, and conversed with him for more than 40 minutes. They later moved to arrest Brooks after he failed a field sobriety test with an alcohol level of 1.08 percent when Georgia’s legal alcohol limit is 0.08 percent.
He physically struggled with the police officers during the arrest, took a stun gun from an officer, and appeared to point and deploy it at the officer as he fled, but missed, according to surveillance video. The officer, Rolfe, then fired about three shots at Brooks, who died after being rushed to a local hospital for surgery.
An autopsy later revealed Brooks was shot in the back twice and suffered resultant injuries to his organs and blood loss that led to his death.
By early June 14, Rolfe was fired and Brosnan was placed on administrative duty, the Atlanta Police Department announced. Rolfe was charged on Wednesday with 11 counts that included felony murder and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in the slaying of Brooks. Brosnan faces three charges that include aggravated assault.
Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard suggested that Brooks didn’t appear to present a threat, and said that Brooks’s cooperative demeanor before the arrest attempt contributed to the decision to charge Rolfe.
“Brooks never displayed any aggressive behavior during the 41 minutes and 17 seconds,” Howard said after his team studied the video evidence. Rolfe also kicked Brooks while he was on the ground and “fighting for his life,” Howard said.
The Wendy’s restaurant near where Brooks was shot was burned down on June 13 amid protests that followed Brooks’s death. Police and fire officials have released photos of two suspects who might be responsible for the arson.
Jack Phillips and The Associated Press contributed to this report.