Atlanta – Mayor Considers Deployment of National Guard
Atlanta police and Mayor Kasim Reed held a news conference Monday morning to discuss plans for the event as well as the marches and protests over the weekend. Over the weekend, 15,000 protesters attended events over four days. Around 15 people were arrested.
“In some cases they have had water bottles thrown at them and insults and profanities shouted at them repeatedly for hours on end, yet they have remained calm and professional,” Reed said.
He said that after this week, officials will reassess to see where they are in terms of manpower. He said calling in the National Guard isn’t out of the question. The mayor said he and Police Chief George Turner will sit down and seriously consider a curfew. Reed said officers are doing all they can not to arrest young people.
“If we had started arresting these young people, we would be contributing to the very pathology that we’re talking about, and that is giving young black people an arrest record, which in this day and age of technology is going to be found out by a future employer,” Reed said.
But the mayor said everything has its limits and warned protesters to show respect and restraint as they demonstrate. He says he’s noticed a worrisome change in the demonstrations as the days have gone on.
“We weren’t seeing families marching anymore. We were seeing a different kind of activist, in people affiliated with community organizations that we were unaware of, and this has caused a concern for us,” Reed said.