Georgia Governor Declares State of Emergency, Mobilizes National Guard After Weekend of Violence
Should governors activate their state’s National Guard to keep the peace if protests turn violent?
by Causes | 7.7.20
What’s the story?
- After the Fourth of July weekend saw five Georgians killed by gunfire and over 30 wounded, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) on Monday declared a state of emergency and authorized the deployment of the Georgia National Guard. Kemp said:
“Peaceful protests were hijacked by criminals with a dangerous, destructive agenda. Now, innocent Georgians are being targeted, shot, and left for dead. This lawlessness must be stopped and order restored in our capital city. I have declared a State of Emergency and called up the Georgia Guard because the safety of our citizens comes first. This measure will allow troops to protect state property and dispatch state law enforcement officers to patrol our streets. Enough with the tough talk. We must protect the lives and livelihoods of all Georgians.”
- Kemp’s declaration allows for up to 1,000 Georgia National Guard troops to be called up, and they will provide support at state buildings such as the Capitol, the Dept. of Public Safety Headquarters (which was vandalized), and Governor’s Mansion to free up state law enforcement officers to increase patrols on roadways & in communities, particularly in Atlanta.
- At a Sunday evening press conference Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D) condemned the violence, which she attributed to “members of the community shooting each other”. Bottoms said that “enough is enough” and added:
“You can’t blame this on a police officer; you can’t say this is about criminal justice reform. This is about some people carrying some weapons who shot up a car with an 8-year-old baby. We are doing each other more harm than any police officer on this force.”
- The 8-year-old referenced by the mayor was Secoriea Turner, who was in a car with her mom and an adult friend when the driver tried to enter a parking lot near the Wendy’s restaurant where Rayshard Brooks was killed in a confrontation with an Atlanta police officer on June 12th. Bottoms said that there had been problems in the area with protesters putting up barriers to close off the street.
- The car was confronted by a group of armed individuals described as black males blocking the parking lot entrance, one of whom wore all black while the second suspect wore a white t-shirt. One of the gunmen opened fire on the car and hit it multiple times, killing Turner. A $10,000 reward is being offered for information leading to arrest and conviction.
— Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Georgia National Guard via Flickr / Creative Commons)
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