The Atlanta City Council approved several items aimed at reforming public safety during Monday’s remote council meeting that continued into Tuesday.
The Council approved legislation to adopt the nationally reviewed “8 Can’t Wait” principles and amend the Atlanta Police Department’s standard operating procedures to incorporate use-of-force alternatives.
The “8 Can’t Wait” platform is part of Campaign ZERO, a police reform initiative created and proposed by a number of nationally recognized activists—Brittany Packnett-Cunningham, Samuel Sinyangwe, DeRay Mckesson, and Johnetta Elzie.
Campaign ZERO was launched in August 2015 was launched as a “data-driven platform” with the goal of ending police brutality on the heels of national protests following the shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown at the hands of white Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis.
Last month, in response to the killing of George Floyd, Campaign ZERO launched “8 Can’t Wait,” a database that tracks how eight policies to curtail police violence are employed in major cities. The eight policies include:
- Banning chokeholds and strangleholds
- Requiring de-escalation strategies
- Requiring a warning before shooting
- Exhausting all alternatives before shooting
- Duty to intervene (from other officers)
- Banning shooting at moving vehicles
- Requiring use-of-force continuum
- Requiring comprehensive reporting involving the use of force against civilians
The ordinance was sponsored by a number of council members, including Antonio Brown, Jennifer N. Ide, Natalyn M. Archibong, Matt Westmoreland, Andre Dickens, Amir R. Farokhi, Michael Julian Bond, Joyce M. Sheperd, Carla Smith, Andrea L. Boone, and Cleta Winslow.
According to the sponsors, the reforms in the legislation are aimed at improving community interactions with Atlanta Police and reduce the number of violent encounters through the use of the “8 Can’t Wait” policies.
The council is also expected to review additional public safety reform measures in committee next week. The measures include:
- An ordinance to amend the City’s charter to add the Atlanta Citizen Review Board as a charter-mandated board.
- An ordinance authorizing the Atlanta Police Department, Department of Finance, and Mayor’s Office of Constituent Services to conduct a study on expanding the Atlanta Police Department to include a crisis intervention division or another specialized unit as a social service component of the police department.
- An ordinance requiring the Atlanta Police Department to provide information and cooperate with the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office as necessary to facilitate, improve the efficiency, and enhance the transparency of investigations involving officer-involved shootings, incidents of serious bodily injury, and accusations of sexual misconduct.
- A resolution requesting the Atlanta Police Department explore alternative non-lethal methods of crowd control and consider utilizing a malodorant chemical compound (stink bomb), wrapping apparatus, laser dazzler, or other methods available.