As protests built across Georgia in response to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis earlier this year, the police shooting that left Rayshard Brooks dead in Atlanta escalated things considerably.
Following a weekend of violence, Republican Gov. Brian Kemp has declared a national emergency and activated 1,000 National Guard troops to restore order, as reported by the Washington Examiner.
Demonstrations that erupted after Brooks was fatally shot following an encounter with officers n a Wendy’s parking lot sparked reports of violent outbreaks. Among others, one shooting reportedly killed an 8-year-old girl near the site of Brooks’ death.
“We don’t come to sing”
Kemp hopes that by activating and deploying troops in strategic spots he can achieve some semblance of order within the state. Of course, Atlanta is not the only Georgia spot experiencing an uptick in disruptive demonstrations.
A clash between a Black militant group called NFAC and white supremacists was reported near Stone Mountain over the Independence Day weekend.
“We aren’t protesters,” said NFAC founder Grand Master Jay. “We aren’t demonstrators. We don’t come to sing. We don’t come to chant. That’s not what we do.”
In Stone Mountain, Georgia earlier today pic.twitter.com/F2Autd4YtI
— Naomi (@naomiruta) July 4, 2020
“Peaceful protests were hijacked by criminals with a dangerous, destructive agenda,” Kemp said of the recent violent crimes. “Now, innocent Georgians are being targeted, shot, and left for dead.”
“By the hands of cowards”
He went on to assert that such “lawlessness must be stopped and order restored in our capital city” in a statement authorizing the National Guard to mobilize.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, a Democrat, has opposed much of Kemp’s leadership throughout the ongoing public health crisis and civil unrest, but sounded off in the wake of the recent shootings that included a child among those killed.
“Secoriea Turner was shot and killed last night, and it was not at the hands, by the hands of a police officer,” Bottoms said on Sunday. “It was by the hands of a coward, cowards, who are still out and about in our community.”
While the underlying goal of ongoing protests is by all accounts noble and worthwhile, members of both parties know things have escalated too far when reports of shootings in the street become commonplace.