George Floyd Protests

Rayshard Brooks: Mayor of Atlanta demands new reforms for Police Department

Rayshard Brooks was killed last week by a police officer in Atlanta and the mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms orders changes to police use-of-force policy.

Rayshard Brooks: Mayor of Atlanta demands new reforms for Police Department

On Friday two police officers shot and killed Rayshard Brooks which sparked many protests in the city of Atlanta during the entire weekend. On Monday in the wake of Brooks death the mayor of Atlanta Keisha Lance Bottoms ordered a series of administrative orders that will require the police department to reform its use-of-force rules and amp up de-escalation tactics.

“Friday night we saw the murder of Rayshard Brooks and it is clear that we do not have another day, another minute, another hour to waste. It angered me and it saddened me beyond words,” said Bottoms in a press conference on Monday.

The reforms towards the police department in Atlanta are aiming for them to be objective and use reasonable force to protect themselves or others to make an arrest or bring someone resisting under control instead of just shooting. They will impose restrictions on when an officer can use deadly force on a suspect in a moving vehicle and they will codify a “duty to intervene” policy requiring officers to step in if they see other officers using unnecessary force.

The decision comes as local governments across the United States are reexamining police department budgets and implementing new reforms after the death of George Floyd over two weeks ago that sparked the ‘Black Live Matters” movement across the country.

Atlanta police is allowed to use deadly force

Prior the officer shot and killed Rayshard Brooks last Friday, Atlanta police policy allowed officers to use deadly force to apprehend a suspected felon when the officer “reasonably believes that the suspect possesses a deadly weapon or any object, device, or instrument which, when used offensively against a person, is likely to or actually does result in serious bodily injury to the officer or others.”

It also allows for deadly force when there's probable cause to believe the suspect had inflicted or threatened serious physical harm and his or her escape "would create a continuing danger of serious physical harm to any person."

During yesterday’s press conference Bottoms clearly stated that the Atlanta police department should make clear that officers are expected to be “guardians, not warriors” within the community. Also she said that prior to the killing of Brooks and amid Floyd’s protests they were analyzing to change the department’s use-of-force policy.