UPDATED: Mayor Reed on Ferguson, With Additional Comments from Hosea Feed The Hungry & Homeless

The following is Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s response to Ferguson:

Yesterday, a grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri decided not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting of Michael Brown.

This announcement is likely to spark understandable feelings of frustration, not only in Ferguson, but across the country.

However, while many are saddened and angered by the grand jury’s decision, I urge everyone taking part in demonstrations to do so in a peaceful manner.  I support the efforts of local leaders to promote non-violent expression by self-policing and elevating the voices of community members.  Equally important, I believe we should respect the wishes of Michael Brown’s father, Michael Brown Sr., that all protests be conducted in a way that honors his son’s memory, rather than distract from it.  It is also essential that all local, state, and federal law enforcement officials show proper restraint and respect every citizen’s constitutional right to assemble.  Atlanta’s history demonstrates that we can come together and protest in a non-violent and peaceful fashion.

Going forward, I encourage the United States Department of Justice to conduct a complete review of how Michael Brown’s killing has been handled thus far. Both the Justice Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation have opened civil rights investigations, and I look forward to the release of their findings.

Finally, let’s not forget what this case is really about. It’s about the deep pain and sorrow that a mother and father have lived through since their son was killed more than three months ago.  We must view this case, not just through our own eyes, but through the eyes of parents who lost a child. While this decision does not do justice to Michael Brown and his family, it serves as an opportunity for Atlanta, and the rest of the nation, to engage in a thoughtful conversation on how to build greater trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.

UPDATED:  A message from Elizabeth Omilami, CEO of Hosea Feed The Hungry and Homeless can be found after the jump.  For those that would like to help, food assembly for Feed the Hungry begins at 6 p.m. tomorrow at the DeKalb Jail.

 

Elizabeth Omilami, CEO of Hosea Feed The Hungry and Homeless:

I am sorry to say to our children and our young people that this is not new. Racism in Ferguson, Missouri is deeply embedded and that is not the only city in America. I AM NOT SURPRISED AND MY HEART IS BROKEN. We need to wake up and realize, that this is not the post racism era, that there never was a war on poverty. This kind of racism I believe cannot be legislated, it has to be a heart change. We must remain non-violent in our protesting, but we must continue to protest. I will soon join you in our fight for equality.

The young black men and women who have been killed with no chance for justice are our sons, our brothers, our sisters, or our daughters. This country is steeped in this stronghold, but we wrestle not against flesh and blood. Whenever there was a victory in the Civil Rights movement blood was shed. Sacrifice was made and my Father, Hosea Williams, often led the charge that caused great decisions to be made into law. We must learn from this. We have gotten too comfortable in this country. To comfortable with this parody of “Democracy”. We must wake up!

Self-defense is often used as an excuse to take the lives of our children. We must address institutional racism in order to move forward in this country. We need to stop pretending this is a Fairyland and see the real truth about America.

Please keep all comments respectful. Comments will be moderated aggressively. 

35 comments

  1. John Konop says:

    Since I have lived in the area almost 14 year Kasim Reed had been the best mayor in Atlanta by far. He has been a rational pro business voice….he keeps the proper tone on issues…Agree or not with him on issues….he keeps a respectful response over firing up the base on issues….we need more like him on both sides….

    • Baker says:

      “Since I have lived in the area almost 14 year Kasim Reed had been the best mayor in Atlanta by far.”

      His competition isn’t exactly stellar.

      • Baker says:

        I would encourage all those on here who are apparently such great fans of Mayor Reed to look at a few things:

        1) What is the mayor’s reaction to criticism? Does he take the criticism under consideration or does he try and destroy the critic? (a la various city councilmembers and other politicos who have dared speak out against Hizzoner)
        2) Considering there were a lot of apparently under the table cash payments (as compensation for lack of raises I believe) and that the Georgia Public Interest Research Group gave Atlanta a “F” grade for its spending transparency practices, you might think it would be important for councilmembers to be able to see the city finances, particularly city councilmembers who are on the finance committee and have been for years. Well you’d be wrong according to Mayor Reed.

        http://clatl.com/freshloaf/archives/2014/10/30/councilwoman-felicia-moores-transparency-quest-continues

        Best bit? “This mayor runs the city like a dictatorship – even worse so, because you’re not allowed to work against him or question his decisions. It completely violates the public’s trust when you have somebody who engages in the type of behavior he does when he runs this city… Being more transparent would certainly help him and help citizens trust the decisions being made.” – William Perry, Common Cause

  2. MattMD says:

    Why are people frustrated? I am often critical of the police (generally due to the position they are put in due to drug laws and the nonsensical asset forfeiture/seizure provisions) but if you attack and attempt to disarm a cop, the officer has every right to use deadly force. It doesn’t matter if the guy is unarmed or not.

    • Jon Lester says:

      My whole problem with this episode has been the blatant attempt to politicize the grand jury process by people who know better. None of us can possibly know all of the evidence to consider until well after that job is done.

  3. gcp says:

    Strange how Reed and the others talk about a pd shooting far away while they ignore the daily murders and assaults in the metro area. Maybe that is the “conversation” Reed, Fort and the others need to have.

  4. Three Jack says:

    Blacks need to choose their martyrs more wisely. Repeatedly getting upset over the ‘unfair’ treatment of criminals like this guy or Rodney King or OJ Simpson does not advance the cause of racial harmony. For example, St. Louis is experiencing a record year for homicides which are mostly black male on black male (same in most big cities including Atlanta). If the folks in Ferguson would put down their looted items long enough to look around, the sensible ones would realize the need to redirect their collective anger.

    I wish the mayor would have mentioned the same instead of pandering to this modern myth that cop on black male crime is the major problem. But that would be difficult to challenge widespread pandemonium amped up by race warlords like Sharpton who benefit financially and professionally from maintaining a sense of rampant racism. Reed’s statement is boilerplate BS.

    • androidguybill says:

      You wish the mayor would be your mouthpiece? I wish that conservatives would stand up and say SOMETHING in cases of LEGITIMATE police wrongdoing, such as the TWO BLACK MALES (one of them 12 years old) that were killed by police for having toy guns.

      Since conservatives won’t advocate for blacks when stuff like that happens, who else do blacks have to go to BUT Sharpton and Jackson?

      • Three Jack says:

        No, I wish the mayor would grow a pair and challenge the black status quo. There is definitely a problem in this country, but it is not white cop on black male murder. It is young black male on young black male useless homicide. Mayor Reed could be a leader making this moment about innocent young black males being murdered by their brothers. But he punted and regurgitated the same BS portraying Brown as a victim when facts completely refute that position.

        I am a fan of the mayor. I hope he will take advantage of this situation to lead an effort that addresses black on black crime.

  5. BriscoeDarlin says:

    Quick question, do you remember how many white people rioted after OJ’s acquital? Me neither. ‘Nuff said…

    • androidguybill says:

      No, but whites rioted plenty in response to attempts to end segregation. Not just in the south either … in Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Detroit, etc. Funny how conservatives don’t seem to remember those.

        • Is the San Francisco Giants winning the World Series in October recent enough for you? For comparison, no damage was reported in the celebrations after St. Louis Cardinals won a few years ago. What does that tell you?

          • Noway says:

            It tells me you’ll grasp at anything to make excuses for a culture of violence that has been displayed in the OJ case, the Treyvon Martin case and now this case. Tell me Chris, what excuses will you make to justify the property damage, the burned businesses and despicable violent behavior displayed after the verdict was announced?

            • I don’t make any but when a few idiots light a car on fire in San Francisco after the Giants win the World Series as a “baseball fan” I am not expected to apologize for their behavior or modify mine. No one will arrest me when I walk near a car because I’m wearing a Braves shirt.

              Similarly, a few mostly black protestors are causing property damage, but every black person is supposed to now answer for their actions and continue to be more likely to die at the hands of the police because “some black people” = “all black people” in your construct.

  6. NoTeabagging says:

    It is not just a race issue. Police have become rude and aggressive. Period. I have experienced this over the decades in the ATL metro area. Get stopped for a license check, speed trap or road violation and you are likely to be greeted by a very rude officer. It makes no sense to immediately greet someone with judgmental, accusatory, rudeness. Try a polite greeting first. If the person you are confronting is peaceful and cooperative then proceed with your business in a civil manner. Why immediately go verbally ballistic on everyone?

    • Will Durant says:

      The result I liked about the study done with body cameras in California was that for the most part they improved the behavior on both sides.

        • saltycracker says:

          Police Chief I listened speak recently, opposing them, said it can work both ways. His first two experiences were a young girl that had hung herself in her closet – pics are public info and parents were distraught. The next was a councilman whose wife was having a drunken meltdown in her yard and the councilman who insisted on buying the cameras was threatening to fire the cops if they didn’t turn them off….
          This chief thought the public was better served without them.
          Some feel differently as they believe it better protects the cops.
          Might be different between big and small cities.

          • Jon Richards says:

            I think there’s an assumption that if things are filmed, truth will out, and justice will be done, because cameras never lie. That isn’t always the case.

            Despite the fact that the beating of Rodney King by Los Angeles police officers was taped, at trial, they were acquitted, which led to rioting similar to what we’ve seen over the past few days.

          • The problem I have with this anecdote it is that in the case of the councilman, the cameras are there for the public, not the chief/officers convenience. I am sure we can have a process by which the first “problem” can be solved, like the ability for a District Attorney or citizens advisory council to classify some footage in instances like that.

  7. jim2011 says:

    Attention Atlanta Police Officers, or those having read their desperate recruiting billboards begging people to come work for them.

    You are underpaid versus the surrounding municipalities and have a more dangerous job, in exchange for those negatives, you will have a Mayor that will treat you with disdain. If, God forbid, while on duty protecting the public, you find yourself in a life-threatening situation, with a young black man, you will have two choices: let him kill you or use your weapon and have a Mayor who will initially provide zero support, and then he will turn you into a political tool – for his gain and your expense.

    If, after a thorough review of the physical facts, you survive the grand jury process or an actual trial, your Mayor will not cower to the mob pressure, no, far from it – he will try to ride the mob tidal wave for political gain. He’s all but promised you, in his latest press release, that he will be giving you the detriment of the doubt. If the verdict is not guilty, expect him to want to subvert the local judicial system and ask for the DOJ to succumb to political pressure – which is ironic for a local Mayor. Expect him to do everything in his power to see to it you spend the rest of your life in prison, for protecting your life in the line of duty.

    It’s not like there aren’t plenty of serious problems here in Atlanta, but with an opportunity for political points, he’s throwing stones at the Ferguson glass house in the form of daily press releases. For starters, lets talk about how many black men were killed right here in Atlanta last year – if this really is about #blacklivesmatter.

    Again, if you are an Atlanta cop and you aren’t preparing your resume – don’t say you haven’t been warned. Alpharetta or Roswell would just be more sensible for you and your family.

    • androidguybill says:

      Sir, with all due respect, your reply is hogwash. Provide one shred of evidence that the accusations that you are making against Reed are true. Provide one single time that Reed has ever done what you are claiming that he is doing.

      The fact: Reed is the most pro-business, pro-police mayor that Atlanta has had IN DECADES. That is why Reed is hated as much by the far left, the Progressive Atlanta and Creative Loafing crowd, as he is by the white flight suburban Republican crowd. Reed increased the size of APD to record levels – and most of the new police hires are white by the way – and stepped up patrols and arrests, which infuriated the social welfare/poverty and racism as a root cause crowd. And it was Reed who shut down the Occupy Atlanta protests before they spiraled out of control the way that they did in New York, Oakland and plenty of other places.

      Now yes Reed is more liberal than I would like, but seeing how the “conservatives” who run Cobb, Gwinnett, Henry, the state legislature and the governor’s office these days are various shades of corrupt and incompetent, I am hesitant to do the “be careful what you wish for” thing. But what you are claiming is simply factually untrue, 180 degrees from the truth. Yes, crime is still a problem, but many areas of Atlanta are far safer and crime is much lower than it was when Reed took office, and the reason is because of the added police and increased patrols. He hasn’t done as much as he could, which would be to use the tactics that Giuliani and Bratton did to clean up New York, but again Reed is not a Republican.

      “It’s not like there aren’t plenty of serious problems here in Atlanta, but with an opportunity for political points, he’s throwing stones at the Ferguson glass house in the form of daily press releases.”

      He is doing no such thing. The guy has already been re-elected and is term-limited; he has no political gain. His statements are meant to try to prevent people from rioting in Atlanta and elsewhere, like there was some arson, looting and vandalism in Atlanta after the Rodney King verdict. So the statements that you want him to make, to race bait like Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Neal Boortz and your other AM talk radio heroes, real tough guys who have never actually held office or been in a position of actual leadership or responsibility, would be totally counterproductive. Reed is trying to keep the peace, not bait and agitate people. But you don’t care about that because your main problem is a guy like Reed being in power in the first place, isn’t it?

      What you don’t realize is that nonsense like what you are spreading is the very thing that keeps the civil rights leaders that you hate so much in power.

      • gcp says:

        Reed is “pro-police”. May want to check with the officers on that one. PD officers were some of his harshest critics when he gave council a 50% pay raise. BTW one of the main reasons he gets little criticism from council is because of that pay raise.

        As for communities being far safer under Reed; well he benefits from a decreasing murder rate that we see nationwide, not just Atlanta.

        If his Ferguson statements that the decision “does not do justice” were to prevent violence in Atlanta, it did not work last night.

        My question still stands; why doesn’t Reed, Fort, Hutchins or any of the others criticize any of the daily violence that we see in the black community?

        But I will agree with you on one point; Reed is no Guiliani, just compare their statements concerning Ferguson.

        As for Reed’s overall performance as mayor, I have listed my criticisms several times on this site so I won’t do it again but it is quite extensive.

  8. MattMD says:

    I really wish Elizabeth Omilami’s release was respectful of my intelligence. She is full of crap.

    De jure discrimination is what the Civil Rights movement was about; it wasn’t about giving people the right to attack and disarm policemen.

  9. saltycracker says:

    Give us some demographics on Hosea’s feed: old folks, disabled, women with children, as the media seems to spotlight the community workers feeding able bodied men displacing the truly needy.

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