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Councilman Who Voted To Defund Police Calls 911 After Being Carjacked By Children

Atlanta, GA – An Atlanta mayoral candidate who has voted to defund police in the past was quick to call the city’s police department for help on Wednesday after a group of children stole his Mercedes.

Atlanta City Councilman Antonio Brown, a Democrat currently running for mayor, was in one of the neighborhoods he represents when the incident occurred, WAGA reported.

Brown said he parked his keyless-start Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 on Verbena Street in Dixie Hills at about 11:45 a.m. and was speaking with someone just feet away from the vehicle when a group of four children jumped inside and started it up.

One of the suspects “acted as though he had a gun,” Brown told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

He estimated the kids ranged in age from about six to 12, WAGA reported.

“You don’t immediately think, ‘Oh, these kids are going to steal my car,’” the dumbfounded city councilman told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Ben Norman said he was chatting with Brown when the incident occurred.

“We tried to go there and maybe try to get the kid out of the car. So, I’m like, what do you do to a kid, right?” Norman told WAGA. “He had already starting figuring out…I mean they had plans, they knew what they were going to do. He hit the gas and he pulled out, peeled out, and took off.”

Brown said Norman opened the door to try to get the kid in the driver’s seat to stop, but the child fought him off.

That’s when Brown jumped in.

“I then engaged and tried to get him out of the car,” he said. “The three other kids were trying to figure out how to get in the car or stay out of the car. He started to hit on the gas.”

Norman let go of the suspect, but Brown said he held on for about a half block, WAGA reported.

“As he started to speed up, and I knew that if I had not let go, I knew I probably could have killed myself because he was going so fast, I would have started to tumble,” he said.

“And I would have hurt [the suspect],” Brown added.

Brown, who voted to defund the Atlanta Police Department (APD) by $73 million last year, called 911 to report what had occurred, WAGA reported.

He complained he was placed on hold for five minutes and said it took about 45 minutes for an officer to arrive, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Investigators used the Find My iPhone app and located Brown’s phone dumped on a nearby street, but his Mercedes is still in the wind.

“The vehicle was tracked and pinged at various locations including in the city of East Point,” the APD’s report noted, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Brown said he doesn’t want to pursue charges against anyone anyway.

“These are little kids…making poor decisions in their lives right now that I think are a reflection of the environment and conditions in which they live,” he said during a press conference on Thursday, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I’m not going to press charges on kids to impact them for the rest of their lives.”

Brown said that at most, he would want the suspects to be placed in a diversion program “to help rehabilitate them so they don’t think crimes like this are okay.”

He said the suspects who stole his car were just desperate and hopeless, WSB reported.

“There’s no amount of officers you’re gonna put on the streets in Atlanta that could’ve stopped this from happening!” Brown told WAGA.

“This is a generational poverty issue,” he said, according to WSB. “These kids, it’s 12:30 in the afternoon. Why aren’t they in school? Why aren’t we enforcing systems to ensure that if they are not in school, they’re in recreational centers?”

The city councilman is running on a platform of “reimagining” policing and public safety in Atlanta, and said he wants to look into restructuring the city’s public safety offices to create an entirely new department that is focused on “wellness,” according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

He is also currently under indictment for multiple federal fraud charges, according to the paper.

Those charges stem from allegations he lied about his income in order to obtain credit cards and loans several years before he was elected to office in 2019, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

View all articles
Written by Holly Matkin

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