Atlanta Police Officers Call Out Sick After Charges Announced Against Two Officers
A number of reports out of Atlanta suggest police officers there have called in sick, en masse, in response to the filing of criminal charges Wednesday against the two officers present during the fatal shooting of Rayshard Brooks.
According to CNN, the Washington Post, and WRBL, a "blue flu" has spread across Atlanta's police ranks, with officers insisting Wednesday evening they were too sick for their night shifts.
The Post reports the city struggled to fill the unexpected gaps in its patrols, and actively tried to temper social media chatter about a mass police walkout.
There are no numbers yet on how many officers have called in sick, but Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms told CNN she's not concerned about the no-shows.
"We do have enough officers to cover us through the night," Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said during an interview Wednesday evening. "Our streets won't be any less safe because of the number of officers who called out."
According to the Post, the Atlanta Police Department did confirm a larger-than-normal number of officers were absent from the job Wednesday, but denied an organized strike was underway.
A tweet from the department last night reads: "Earlier suggestions that multiple officers from each zone had walked off the job were inaccurate. The department is experiencing a higher than usual number of call outs with the incoming shift. We have enough resources to maintain operations and remain able to respond to incidents."
"Blue flu" is a reference to any strike action taken by police that takes the form of sudden illness befalling the force.
The reports indicate that the sick calls started coming in not long after Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard announced the 11 charges — including one for murder — against fired Atlanta policeman Garrett Rolfe, who fatally shot Brooks last Friday in the parking lot of a Wendy's restaurant.
The other officer at the scene, Devin Brosnan, is charged with aggravated assault and two violations of oath of office.
Brooks, 27, was shot in the heart by one of the three bullets Rolfe fired on Friday. Brooks struggled with the officers as they tried to detain him for being inebriated, and was killed as he tried to flee.
Rolfe allegedly kicked Brooks as he was on the ground, struggling for his life.
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Additionally, authorities allege Brosnan admitted to standing on Brooks' shoulders after he'd been shot.
Both suspects must surrender by 6 p.m. today.
It was not immediately clear if either man had retained an attorney to comment on his behalf.
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