An ATLANTA POLICE UNION is upset with ATLANTA Mayor KASIM REED over a photo that they say perpetuates fear of law enforcement!!!
AJC reports the issue is a photo of Mayor REED and celebrities including Actor/Comedian CHRIS TUCKER, as well as rappers YOUNG JEEZY and LUDACRIS, with their arms raised in a gesture that is commonly known as “HANDS UP, DON'T SHOOT.”
The gesture has come to symbolize tension between law enforcement and minority communities following the POLICE SHOOTING DEATH of unarmed 18-year-old FERGUSON, MO resident MICHAEL BROWN Jr.
INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD Of POLICE OFFICERS LOCAL 623 President KEN ALLEN said he heard from many officers who believe the photo sends a troubling message. Allen leads a union of roughly 1,200 lawmen.
KEN ALLEN said;
“It’s sending a message to the community that contradicts what I think we do in Atlanta. I think the message tells the public that there is an issue (here).”
Spokeswoman ANN TORRES said his participation in the photo, which was taken at an event last month, was a reaction to a grand jury’s decision not to indict a police officer over Brown’s death.
The mayor spoke publicly about his disappointment in the Ferguson decision last fall and called for peaceful protests.
ANN TORRES also defended the mayor’s support of the ATLANTA POLICE DEPARTMENT, which has grown to 2,000 officers, has received pay raises under Reed and has received new high-tech policing equipment.
ANN TORRES said;
“Since Michael Brown’s shooting in August, Mayor Reed has been asked to comment on community policing on multiple occasions both nationally and locally. In every instance, he has consistently expressed his appreciation of the fine work of the men and women of the Atlanta Police Department.”
Just months after the Ferguson decision, a NEW YORK grand jury deciding against charging an officer involved in the POLICE CHOKING DEATH of unarmed 34-year-old STATEN ISLAND, NY-resident ERC GARNER, who died after police put him in a choke-hold.
Weeks later, two NYPD officers were gunned down by a man who reportedly claimed that he planned to attack cops in retaliation for the deaths of BROWN and GARNER.
The controversy has led to highly publicized tension between the NYPD and Mayor Bill de Blasio, with some criticizing the mayor for what they say is a lack of support for the force.
Noting demonstrations in Atlanta earlier this week, in which protesters interrupted and blocked the 2015 MARTIN LUTHER KING Jr. MARCH, President KEN ALLEN said;
“Why would they not think the mayor supports that, because of the message that photo sends?”
EMORY UNIVERSITY Political Scientist MICHAEL LEO OWENS thinks the mayor’s participation in the photo is politically less damaging in Atlanta, which has a majority black police force and is led by an African-American chief.
Dr. MICHAEL LEO OWENS said;
“If we had these sort of cases in Atlanta that we see elsewhere, it would be a very different story. And if we had those sorts of cases, the mayor might not have used what we assume is this symbol.”