The city of Atlanta is seeking alternate methods to the police’s lethal use of force when it comes to apprehending suspects and controlling crowds.
At its Aug. 3 meeting, which was held remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Atlanta City Council voted to approve two resolutions regarding the issue. The first resolution requests the Atlanta Police Department adopt the 8 Can’t Wait principles and pursue amendments to the department’s standard operating procedures related to use of force.
8 Can’t Wait is a national campaign aiming to change police department policies regarding excessive force. It refers to the eight minutes and 46 seconds a police officer held his knee to George Floyd’s neck, resulting in Floyd’s death and sparking protests in Atlanta and other cities worldwide over the deaths of Black individuals at the hands of mostly white police officers.
July 15, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms vetoed an ordinance (No. 20-O-1449) the council approved July 6. That ordinance would have enacted policy changes in line with 8 Can’t Wait.
In a news release, Bottoms said while police reform regarding the lethal use of force is needed, she felt the new ordinance could have been challenged legally based on the state’s constitution and recommended the council instead pass a resolution, which is nonbinding, on the issue.
The second resolution requests the police examine alternative nonlethal methods of crowd control and consider using a malodorant chemical compound (stink bomb), wrapping apparatus, laser dazzler or other methods available (No. 20-R-4122).