Mayor Bottoms’s Inaction At Heart of BLM Protesters Concerns in Atlanta
Mayor Bottoms’s Inaction At Heart of BLM Protesters' Concerns in Atlanta
Originally written: June 5, 2020
I arrived on the corner of Centennial Olympic Park Drive and Marietta Street, which has become ground zero for the Atlanta protests. Most people had already dispersed as curfew had been dropped to 8 p.m. The few that were left had a lot to say. I asked a man who referred to himself as Dimitri S. if he had anything that he wanted to say to the world, and he vented his frustrations with Black police officers in particular.
Dimitri observed that all of the Black police officers were in the front of the riot suppression line with White officers lined up behind them, and stressed that this show of force felt unnecessary when the protests he had been attending daily were peaceful.
He proclaimed that they were unable to even say the names of victims of police brutality because of their role in upholding the status quo. He noted that Black officers already had tear gas canisters loaded in their grenade launchers.
Another demonstrator joined the conversation, exclaiming her disappointment specifically with the police responsible for George Floyd’s death, using it as a launch pad for a diatribe on the police system and how it feeds racism in America.
The police intervened, but only by politely asking people to go home, as curfew had effectively begun.
There was a short argument between one woman and a number of police officers that ended with her walking away while brandishing a megaphone. The woman (only identified as Eva) began walking away from the corner while yelling scathing criticism at Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.
Eva voiced her dissatisfaction with the measures that Mayor Bottoms had taken to address the cause of the protests. She said that Mayor Bottoms came to take photos with protestors for fifteen minutes, only to “rage” at them on the news and impose a strict curfew on them.
“You don’t want to come out here and walk with us. You don’t want to come out here and protest with us. So guess what? I’m going to keep on… everyday,” Eva said.
Eva exclaimed that Mayor Bottoms has not made a conscious effort to ameliorate the reasons why people are frustrated, but will publicly criticize them. Eva continued, “You’re Black sister, you’re not White… Quit trying to suck a dick to make these White folks happy. Come down here and stand with your people.”
Eva also announced plans for the next step of protest by showing up to Mayor Bottom’s personal residence, which she did.
“They deployed the motherfucking military on our ass. They wanna protect their money. But see, we ain’t gonna fuck with your money no more. We gon’ fuck with your sleep,” stated a fiery Eva.
The rioting and violence have seemingly been stemmed, but the frustrations remain, if not grown. The protests continue and saw renewed vigor when police killed Rayshard Brooks at the Wendy’s on University Ave.
For people like Eva, who routinely show up to decry the deaths of Black people like George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor — to combat systemic racism — the wait for change must feel like an eternity.