Throughout yesterday evening, reports were surfacing that many Atlanta police officers were either calling in sick and not reporting for duty - the so-called "blue flu" - or were checking in, making a token run (perhaps to a favorite coffee shop - a number of witnesses report seeing unusually large groups of cops drinking coffee and talking) and then returning to their precincts and refusing to go out again.
What's more, mainstream news media appear to be under-reporting the full extent of the problem. I'm informed by my law enforcement friends and contacts that at least three out of six districts in the Atlanta metro area aren't responding to anything except life-threatening emergencies, and even those are seeing a much delayed response. The police department is allegedly even pulling corrections officers out of Atlanta-area jails to respond to crime calls, because no-one else is available. Neighboring agencies are allegedly refusing to assist, except if an officer is in danger and calling for help.
There also appears to be a great deal of discussion about Atlanta (and Minneapolis, and Seattle, and New York, and many other cities where police are under attack by politically correct administrations) among police officers across the nation. Police officers talk to each other about such things. There are entire online forums and social media groups, many invitation-only, for police to discuss such issues, and they're buzzing right now. I have a feeling that Atlanta's "blue flu" may become a nation-wide law enforcement pandemic in its own right before very long.
It's made worse by the fact that the officer who shot Rayshard Brooks is clearly facing excessive and legally unjustifiable charges, even by the dubious standards of Atlanta's own District Attorney and the laws of that state. As Sundance points out, that may be related to a political spat between the DA and his possible opponent in this year's primary elections. Bold, underlined text is my emphasis.
Fulton County, Georgia, District Attorney Paul Howard Jr., held a press conference earlier this afternoon to announce eleven charges against police officer Garrett Wolfe for the shooting death of Rayshard Brooks. The shooting took place at a local Atlanta Wendys.
In what appears to be a decision heavily influenced by local politics, DA Howard is charging officer Garrett Wolfe with felony murder; an unlawful killing with malice, forethought and specific intent. It looks like Howard is purposefully making a mess.
. . .
There is something rather unusual about the way DA Paul Howard framed the encounter between the police and Rayshard Brooks, because CCTV video and body-cam footage do not support the district attorney’s version of events. Obviously in a courtroom the defense is going to replay the DA statements while they run simultaneous footage of Mr. Rayshard Brooks resisting arrest, fighting with police and ultimately taking one of the officers’ tasers to use as a weapon.
. . .
The lead investigative agency, The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), didn’t even know the press conference was going to be held today and they have not completed their investigation. They had no idea the DA was going to file charges.
. . .
Regardless of internal Atlanta politics, the message to police is chilling. I would not want to be living anywhere around Fulton county, Georgia; because I suspect there is going to be a massive drop in law enforcement. Crime will likely rise, violence will likely escalate, and the suffering community will be the same black neighborhoods who might currently be thanking DA Howard without realizing what consequences are looming.
There's more at the link.
To make matters even worse, one of the justifications for a murder charge against the officer was that the deceased used a taser - regarded by many as a non-lethal weapon - and therefore did not "deserve" to be shot in return, a firearm being a "more lethal" method of defense. However, Atlanta's DA, just two weeks ago, pointed out at a news conference that under Georgia law, tasers are considered lethal weapons:
If the officer had been trained to act in terms of Georgia law, and acted in accordance with his training and the law, then how can he possibly be charged with felony murder? I'm sure every Atlanta PD officer is asking that question, more or less profanely, right now: and I'm sure the officer's defense attorneys are rubbing their hands with glee at the thought of asking the prosecution precisely that question in court. It's unanswerable, except to dismiss the charges.
I hold no brief for police misconduct and over-reaction. Regular readers will know that I've spoken out against that on numerous occasions. However, in this case, I think it's pretty clear-cut that the charges are simply ridiculous. I'm not surprised to see Atlanta cops reacting to them in this way. When the justice system they're supposed to uphold turns against them, what else can they do? Why should they put their futures, their families and their paychecks on the line when their own superiors won't back them up if they do their job as they've been trained to do it?
I've worked with law enforcement, in a support capacity. None of those with whom I worked would have put their necks on the block if they knew their superiors were likely to chop their heads off to save their own - and I don't blame them. When a department loses the trust of its own officers, it's doomed. The only thing that can save it is a wholesale house-cleaning from top to bottom, new and strong leadership - not of the politically correct variety - and solid support from its leaders for rank-and-file officers.
I'm surprised cops haven't already "downed tools" in Minneapolis, Seattle, New York and other places where their administrators have thrown them to the wolves. It says a lot for their dedication to duty. However, everyone has a breaking point. It looks like Atlanta PD officers have reached theirs. How far will this spread, and how fast?
Oh - and remember my advice a couple of weeks ago? "If you haven't got a gun, GET ONE. NOW." That goes double when you don't know if the police will be willing or available to come to your help. Even if they do, until they arrive at the crime scene, you're on your own. That being the case, you'd better be ready, willing, able, and equipped to defend yourself, your loved ones, and your property.
If you're not, police have a word for people in your position. They call them "victims".