ATLANTA — Atlanta's police department said Thursday that it can still police the city even if officers are calling in sick to protest efforts to impose reforms.
A department tweet urged people to continue calling 911 if they have an emergency.
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms also insisted that the police department would be able to operate effectively despite the reaction of some officers to her calls for reforms and the charges against two officers in the shooting of Rayshard Brooks in a Wendy's parking lot.
On Wednesday evening, hours after Officer Devin Brosnan and former Officer Garrett Rolfe were formally charged in connection with Brooks' death, reports surfaced that a large number of Atlanta police officers were calling in sick in protest.
The Atlanta Police Department is able to respond effectively to 911 calls. Please don’t hesitate to call if you have an emergency.
— Atlanta Police Department (@Atlanta_Police) June 18, 2020
In an appearance on CNN, Bottoms confirmed that some police officers were asked to extend their shifts due to the high number of call-offs, and noted that low morale is currently an issue within the department.
Rolfe facers 11 charges, including a murder charge, after he shot and killed Brooks during an altercation on Friday. He's since been fired from the department. Brosnan also faces several charges in connection with Brooks' death.
Prior to the shooting, Brosnan was called to the scene when Brooks fell asleep in his car while waiting in the Wendy's drive-thru line. Rolfe arrived soon after, and the three spoke for about 40 minutes before the officers attempted to take Brooks into custody.
A struggle ensued, and Brooks got a hold of Brosnan's stun gun. He attempted to flee the scene and pointed the weapon in the direction of the officers before Rolfe shot him.
The Fulton County District Attorney claims Rolfe failed to immediately deliver medical aid to Brooks and kicked him as he lay on the ground. Brosnan has allegedly admitted to standing on Brooks' shoulder before calling for medical attention.