Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms on Monday announced a series of police reform measures in the wake of Friday’s shooting death of Rayshard Brooks by a city cop, including a “duty to intervene” policy within the department ranks.
Bottoms said at a press conference that the city will also implement clear use-of-force guidelines and increase training on “de-escalation techniques” for cops.
“Based on what we saw happen Friday it became abundantly clear very quickly that there is a need for us to take an immediate look at our training policies,” the mayor said. “Some of these policies, in m opinion, while we are speaking these policies, they are not necessarily integrated into our training.”
Brooks, 27, was questioned by Atlanta cops Garrett Rolfe and Devin Brosnan after he fell asleep in his car at a Wendy’s restaurant. Following a field sobriety test the officers attempted to handcuff Brooks, who scuffled with the officers and ran off with one of their Tasers.
Video of the incident shows Rolfe, who was fired the following day, fire three shots, hitting Brooks twice in the back and mortally wounding him.
The incident, which prompted the resignation of Police Chief Erika Shields, also sparked a new round of protests in the city, which had already seen weeks of demonstrations over the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Bottoms, who had called for the creation of a task force to examine police procedures, responded Monday by saying she would sign a series of administrative orders to increase police transparency and accountability.
Among the measures, she said the city would “immediately adopt and implement reforms of the standard operating procedures and work rules of APD concerning their use of force policies.”
“Specifically these reforms must comply with state law concerning the use of force … generally and specifically regarding the use of deadly force in according with the principle that officers should use only the amount objectively reasonable force necessary to successfully protect themselves and others, to effect an arrest, or to bring an incident under control when dealing with members of the community, suspects, detainees, etc.,” Bottoms said.
“I’m also requiring de-escalation, generally and specifically prior to the use of deadly force in accordance with the principle that officers should use de-escalation techniques to gain voluntary compliance and avoided or minimize the use of physical force,” she said.
Under the new measures, officers who see another cop use excessive force “are duty bound to intercede,” and must report it to an on duty supervisor.
In addition, all incidents involving use of deadly force by police must be reviewed by the city’s citizens’ review board.
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