Are we about to see the second Burning of Atlanta?
In 1864, Atlanta burned to the ground when General Sherman conducted his famous March through Georgia. Atlanta citizens had better hope history does not repeat itself, this time because Atlanta police officers are so horrified by the eleven charges the Fulton County district attorney Paul Howard filed against Garret Rolfe, who shot Rayshard Brooks, that they're engaging in a sick out. Without the police, the whole of Atlanta is a sitting duck for every criminal out there.
So here's what we know: despite the media's usual claim that a man who died while fighting the police was a beloved family man, Rayshard Brooks might not have been such a nice person. When he died, he was on probation for a 2014 four-count conviction, with a seven-year prison sentence: False Imprisonment, Simple Battery/Family, Battery Simple, and Felony Cruelty/Cruelty to Children. He'd already violated his probation once, which resulted in his going back to prison for a year in 2016.
Brooks's criminal history does not mean he deserved to die. It merely explains why he went from compliant to violent in his interactions with police: Brooks knew that his being arrested for DUI would send him back to prison for violating his parole. In his drunken state of mind, he thought he could avoid that fate by fighting the police and running away.
The videos give a reasonably clear picture of what happened after Brooks was found passed out behind the wheel of his car in a Wendy's drive-through lane: everything was polite until the cuffs came out. At that point, Brooks turned into a maniac, attacking Officers Devin Brosnan and Garret Rolfe. Rolfe's attorney summarizes the attack (a summary consistent with the videos all of us have watched):
Officers Brosnan and Rolfe used the least amount of force possible in their attempts to place Mr. Brooks into handcuffs. They attempted to leverage him to the ground while giving him loud, clear verbal commands. In response, Mr. Brooks continued actively resisting lawful efforts to arrest him. He then escalated his resistance by punching Officer Rolfe in the face committing several counts of felony obstruction of an officer. See O.C.G.A. §16-10-24. In an effort to place Mr. Brooks under arrest and stop his assault, Officer Rolfe lawfully deployed his TASER twice, but it had no effect on Mr. Brooks.
Mr. Brooks continued his assault and disarmed Officer Brosnan, stealing his city-issued TASER committing a robbery, another forcible felony under Georgia law. See O.C.G.A. §16-8-40 & O.C.G.A. §16-10-33 . Mr. Brooks, then armed, began running through a crowded parking lot. Mr. Brooks was lawfully under arrest and Officer Rolfe pursued him. Officer Rolfe had deployed his taser and held it steady in hopes the prongs would catch onto Mr. Brooks body and neutralize him. Unfortunately, that didn't occur.
Instead of merely trying to escape, Mr. Brooks reached back with his arm extended and pointed an object at Officer Rolfe. Officer Rolfe heard a sound like a gunshot and saw a flash in front of him. Fearing for his safety, and the safety of the civilians around him, Officer Rolfe dropped his taser and fired his service weapon at the only portion of Mr. Brooks that presented to him – Mr. Brooks' back. Officer Rolfe immediately stopped firing when Mr. Brooks fell to the ground since there was no longer an imminent threat towards Officer Rolfe or others. Officer Rolfe gathered himself, and then immediately called for EMS. Officer Rolfe retrieved first-aid supplies and began rendering aid to Mr. Brooks. When Mr. Brooks' pulse stopped, Officer Rolfe immediately began CPR until EMS relieved him.
Although Paul Howard insists that Rolfe kicked the body, his bodycam shows him kneeling on the ground, administering CPR to Brooks, while begging Brooks to keep breathing.
Police officers understand what is happening here: they're being told that they will be presumed guilty any time they shoot someone in what they believe is a life-or-death situation. This presumption will escalate if the person shot is black or if the D.A. is hyper-political or corrupt (as is likely the case with D.A. Howard). They understand that the D.A. just turned them into sitting ducks.
In Atlanta, the police are making their displeasure known by calling in sick. While the police department is doing the usual "everything is fine here," Twitchy has assembled myriad tweets showing that nothing is fine in Atlanta. Here are just some of those tweets:
Just got this email from an Atlanta police officer:— Steve Deace (@SteveDeaceShow) June 17, 2020
"Atlanta police officers are refusing to answer the radio and walking off of the job. The county can go screw themselves. If you want a society without police we’ll give you one. Let it burn!"
My contacts in the Atlanta Police Department inform me that members from evening shift Zone 4 walked off the job shortly followed by Officers in Zone 3 and 6. The good members of the @Atlanta_Police will not stand for @FultonCountyDA’s activism in place of applying the law. https://t.co/PDWZNgFeXb— Rob O'Donnell (@odonnell_r) June 17, 2020
Breaking: Sources confirm Atlanta Police officers in zone 6 have walked out. Sources say they drove back to their precinct, turned in their keys and went home. Officers in zone 3 are allegedly doing the same. @CBS46 #ContinuingCoverage #Atlanta #BlueFlu pic.twitter.com/kgLuNwDalP— shon gables cbs46 (@shongables) June 18, 2020
Text from APD officer:— Johnny (Joey) Jones (@Johnny_Joey) June 18, 2020
“I can confirm the walk-off is real. Whole shifts have left and overnight shifts are refusing to come in”
Listening to scanner. Silence— Mary Hoyt (@chasin_dwight) June 18, 2020
Dispatch is still dispatching calls but there are no officers responding. Its the real life purge in Atlanta yall.— billy ragland. (@wildlandragland) June 18, 2020
Soon, the mobs will be wilding, and Atlanta may end up looking no better than it did in 1864 — only this time, it will have done it to itself.