Atlanta, GA – An increasing number of Atlanta police officers have tendered their resignations as morale plummets in the midst of anti-police uprisings, clashes with rioters and officers being fired.
Between two and six officers resign from the Atlanta Police Department (APD) in an average month, the department told WGCL.
But just two weeks into June, a total of eight officers have already turned in their badges.
Chaos has erupted throughout the city since the May 25 in-custody death of 46-year-old George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Days later, six officers were caught on video that went viral as they tased two people who fled from police and were resisting arrest during a curfew crackdown.
The officers were all criminally charged, and four have since been fired.
Two of the fired former officers have filed a lawsuit against Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and then-APD Chief Erika Shields, arguing that the use of force they exhibited was lawful, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
They further claimed that they were denied due process and were fired in violation of the city code which required an investigation, notice, and a pre-disciplinary hearing.
“This is happening so fast. No due process and, our opinion, this all appears to be political on both sides from the mayor to the district attorney,” International Brotherhood of Police Officers Southeast Regional Director Vince Champion told WSB. “It tears down morale and it also lets them know that three of the top officials who should have law enforcement’s back do not. And they’re going to sacrifice men and women in law enforcement for their political gains, their own personal gains or whatever the reasoning is.”
Violent rioters set fire to bushes, cars, and a Wendy’s restaurant on Saturday night to protest the fatal officer-involved shooting of Rayshard Brooks, who was seen on surveillance footage firing a Taser at an officer before police responded with bullets.
Bottoms immediately called for the officer’s termination, and he has since been fired.
“We are now going into the third consecutive week of unbated protests in which officers have worked 12-hour shifts seven days per week,” Atlanta Police Foundation (APF) President Dave Wilkinson told WGCL. “As you can imagine, their stress levels are exacerbated by physical and emotional exhaustion.”
“We are grateful for the sacrifices they are making every day and will continue to support them while accelerating the programs under the Atlanta Police Foundation’s mission in order to address police reform and other issues the protests and their aftermath have illuminated,” Wilkinson added.
Chief Shields announced her own resignation in the wake of the fatal officer-involved shooting, WGCL reported.
“For more than two decades, I have served alongside some of the finest men and women in the Atlanta Police Department,” she said. “Out of a deep and abiding love for this City and this department, I offered to step aside as police chief. APD has my full support, and Mayor Bottoms has my support on the future direction of this department.”
The now-former APD chief said she has “faith” in Bottoms, according to WGCL.
“It is time for the city to move forward and build trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve,” she added.