Gov. Brian Kemp extended Georgia’s state of emergency order to allow National Guard troops to remain stationed in Atlanta, following weeks of unrest and a surge in crime.
Kemp’s order is now slated to expire on July 27, according to a statement from his office on Monday evening. The order was signed last Monday, on July 6.
“To ensure public safety & prevent violence, I have renewed the State of Emergency authorizing as many as 1,000 Georgia Guard for active duty. They will protest state property to allow state police to patrol our streets, especially in City of Atlanta,” the Republican governor wrote on Twitter.
The governor signed the order following an especially violent Fourth of July weekend in Atlanta, when 31 people were shot and five were killed in incidents across the city. An 8-year-old girl was counted among those who were fatally shot, prompting a public outcry.
Late on Sunday, Atlanta Police officials released images of a person of interest who is believed to be connected to the death of the girl, identified as Secoriea Turner.
She was killed on July 4 while she was riding in an SUV with her mother. The driver had attempted to pass a roadblock that was set up by rioters and protesters near a Wendy’s.
A reward of up to $20,000 was offered for information leading to the arrest and indictment of a suspect in the case.
“They say Black lives matter,” her father, Secoriya Williamson, said in a news conference days after her slaying. “You killed your own. You killed your own this time.”
In the same time period, the Georgia State Patrol headquarters was vandalized by Black Lives Matter activists and protesters.
“Peaceful protests were hijacked by criminals with a dangerous, destructive agenda. Now, innocent Georgians are being targeted, shot, and left for dead,” Kemp stated last week. He said that deploying the National Guard to certain, key buildings will free up state troopers for policing the city.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, a Democrat, decried the governor’s move to bring in National Guard troops.
“But to announce that the National Guard was coming—it was not discussed with me, it was not discussed with our police chief,” Bottoms told Atlanta’s WSB-TV. “To me, it speaks to showmanship and this need to show that there are tanks on the streets of Atlanta.”