Mayor Kasim Reed On Protests, Civil Rights Legends…And Blocking Traffic

Mayor Kasim Reed has earned high praise for his handling of the ongoing protest marches. He’s been in the middle of the protestors. He’s stood beside them and his police force, simultaneously. He’s done his best to allow all sides to vent their frustrations, and ultimately let everyone go him safe with their messages delivered and public safety in tact. Let me echo the praise of others in how the Mayor has handled these past few very difficult days.

I heard the mayor speak at a press conference today, and he openly talked about his police officers (as well as others working with APD such as the Georgia State Patrol) who have had five nights of protecting our capital city while openly grieving for their fallen brothers in Dallas. It’s remarkable there have been few arrests and no violence locally to speak of thus far. That said, people are tired, and tensions remain high. That’s not a good combination.

The Mayor is particularly frustrated with the intentions of some protestors to get on and block Atlanta’s freeways. He has a lengthy message for them posted via Facebook, which we include after the jump:

Over the last couple of days, I’ve noticed a number of posts on social media comparing the desire of Atlanta protesters to take over our downtown interstates with that of Civil Rights demonstrators marching over the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama in March 1965.

This was an iconic moment in American history captured in stirring photographs which could only capture a fraction of the fear and pain marchers experienced that day.

Many view the march as a turning point in the movement for civil rights, and one key fact cannot be forgotten: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rev. Willie Bolden, Ambassador Andrew Young, Congressman John Lewis and the hundreds of brave individuals who marched that day planned for weeks, working round the clock to organize the event with a great emphasis on public safety – their own safety and the safety of local residents.

The photo that has been posted on social media captures the culmination of weeks of effort and communication with the communities and law enforcement in Selma.

As I said last week, Dr. King would never take a freeway in the dangerous fashion that demonstrators in Atlanta this weekend tried to block our downtown interstate. To say or imply that these two events are similar is a classic example of a lie getting around the world before the truth wakes up.

As a leader of a national movement, Dr. King never would have spontaneously run into, or walked onto, an active highway and put innocent motorists’ lives at risk without warning. When the SCLC and SNCC planned marches, the streets were closed in advance. They involved extensive communication with local elected officials and law-enforcement.

I have gotten this information over the years from men and women like Ambassador Andrew Young, Reverend Willie Bolden and Mrs. Juanita Abernathy. These individuals gave their lives to the Civil Rights Movement.

In the City of Atlanta over the last three days, more than 15,000 people exercised their First Amendment rights after a very tough week for our nation. These protests unfolded quickly and emotionally and at all times our law-enforcement personnel treated these individuals with respect. There were minimal arrests, minimal property damage and no loss of life resulting from the protests.

Everyone in their own way has honored Dr. King’s memory this weekend. But we have a long way to go as a city in the days and weeks ahead. We will make greater substantive progress when we turn to each other, rather than turn on each other. The problems which led to thousands speaking up and joining in civic engagement impact us all. Only by working together will we be able to solve them.

10
Leave a Reply

Please Login to comment
6 Comment threads
4 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
6 Comment authors
augusta52Noway2016Sally ForthAndrew C. PopeSaltycracker Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Saltycracker
Saltycracker

Reed and Young have done what they can to keep this out of the hands of the violent. AJC: “Andrew Young, the former Atlanta mayor and veteran of the 1960s civil rights movement, said recent Atlanta protesters have been able to “show off with no consequences” and told city police officers to not get upset. “Those are some unlovable little brats out there some times,” Young said in a meeting with officers at a southwest Atlanta precinct. He visited to offer encouragement to officers as protests in Atlanta continue over shootings by police in Louisiana and Minnesota. Reporters were invited… Read more »

gcp
gcp

Reed showed a lot of patience during the 2011 Occupy Atlanta mess but he eventually removed that crowd. This situation is different because you have roving mobs but if it continues, city officials and pd will have to retake the streets.

Saltycracker
Saltycracker

While determining a better police approach some situations may be avoidable by the public. Like a known armed person challenging and resisting police (LA) or a person that should know to keep his hands in view, told to, and makes a move for his back pocket (MN). Classic situations for bad endings for bad guys, good guys and both sides.

Andrew C. Pope
Andrew C. Pope

Where was Anton Sterling’s gun in the video, cause I sure as heck didn’t see it. Maybe it was in his pocket? But does having a gun in your pocket justify multiple shots to your chest when police already have you on the ground? As for Philando Castille, how is one supposed to get their wallet out of their pocket while simultaneously keeping their hands in view? I guess we should tell black folks that, if you’re gonna carry a gun, do so openly and over your shoulder. At least then the worst thing that can happen is you get… Read more »

Saltycracker
Saltycracker

News said the 911 caller said he had a gun suggesting caution and they ran into a very confrontational guy. They didn’t know or need to know then that he was a pedophile with a long list of crimes like burglary, battery…(snopes) however his attorney said Anton was a pillar of the community. If the guy was executed it was wrong and the officers will pay but Anton won’t be missed. Race doesn’t matter when legally toting, behavior does. When stopped by a cop Keep you hands in plain sight and listen to the cop. Reaching for your “wallet” when… Read more »

Andrew C. Pope
Andrew C. Pope

So, if a guy has prior convictions that makes it ok to shoot him? Seriously, what do the man’s prior convictions have to do with the officer’s decision to shoot him in that moment? Last I checked, we’re still in the United States, where the fact you have a criminal record does not make you fair game for a cop with an itchy trigger finger. I (unfortunately) watched the video. The man is on the ground, detained by two officers. One officer yells “gun,” despite the fact that Sterling was not holding a weapon and they were in no immediate… Read more »

Saltycracker
Saltycracker

Alton spelling correction and snopes info (cops didn’t know or
need to know as Tier 1 would have really made them nervous):

http://www.snopes.com/alton-sterling-arrest-record/

Sally Forth
Sally Forth

Mayor Reed and the APD have got to get control of this situation, Five nights of anarchy are too much. Any lawful free speech rally has to be permitted by the city. Mollycoddling these criminal mobs has not worked — it merely emboldens. I feel SO sorry for all those fine policemen and women who are out there! This has turned into facebook and twitter fueled flash mobs, a “happening”, a recreated Freaknik in the streets of Atlanta, predominantly college kids and friends on summer break. The inmates are running the asylum. Take control, Mayor Reed!

Noway2016
Noway2016

Finally…a voice of reason! +1000, Sally!

augusta52
augusta52

Maybe the group of malcontents should march into southwest Atlanta, where a Nigerian clerk was shot by two kids…or to the neighborhood abortion clinic where many black lives are snuffed out every day. But I am not holding my breath…