Much like in major cities across the U.S., violence in Atlanta has spiked dramatically. Over the Fourth of July weekend, more than 30 people were shot and at least five confirmed dead, including an 8-year-old girl.
Though the city's Democratic mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms, has implored residents to stop the violence, pointing out that "we are doing each other more harm than any police officer on this force," she has been unable to put an end to it. To help regain control, Republican Gov. Brian Kemp authorized up to 1,000 National Guard troops to be deployed to Atlanta.
“Peaceful protests were hijacked by criminals with a dangerous, destructive agenda. Now, innocent Georgians are being targeted, shot, and left for dead,” Kemp said in a statement. “This lawlessness must be stopped and order restored in our capital city. I have declared a State of Emergency and called up the Georgia Guard because the safety of our citizens comes first. This measure will allow troops to protect state property and dispatch state law enforcement officers to patrol our streets. Enough with the tough talk. We must protect the lives and livelihoods of all Georgians.”
The move comes after “weeks of dramatically increased violent crime and property destruction” in Atlanta, Kemp said.
“The Georgia Guard will provide support at state buildings, including the Georgia State Capitol, Georgia Department of Public Safety Headquarters, and Governor’s Mansion,” the statement continued. “This aid will allow state law enforcement personnel to increase patrols on roadways and throughout communities, especially those in the City of Atlanta.”
Kemp Declares State of Emergency, Activates 1,000 Troops to Protect Georgians https://t.co/GF4p9l7NcW— Governor Brian P. Kemp (@GovKemp) July 6, 2020
On Sunday, Kemp said that while he’s ready to help local leaders in the state, he is not going to wait for their cooperation to restore order.
This recent trend of lawlessness is outrageous & unacceptable. Georgians, including those in uniform, need to be protected from crime & violence. While we stand ready to assist local leaders in restoring peace & maintaining order, we won’t hesitate to take action without them. https://t.co/NTacEm4v7o— Governor Brian P. Kemp (@GovKemp) July 6, 2020