Atlanta mayor announces police reforms after death of Rayshard Brooks

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced that she is signing a series of administrative orders to reform the use of force within the Atlanta Police Department.

Speaking to reporters Monday afternoon, Bottoms said that she and the city will continue to do what the city needs to do to ensure all Atlantans are treated with dignity and respect.

"It is clear that we do not have another day, another minute, another hour to waste," Bottoms said.


Bottoms said that the new rules will require officers use de-escalation tactics prior to using physical or deadly force. All uses of deadly force must also be reported to the city's citizens review board.

Officers will also be required to intervene if they see another officer using force "which is beyond reasonable in the given services" and must immediately report that use of force to a supervisor.

The mayor said she is also signing an administrative order to convene a body to air grievances and propose solutions regarding police violence.

"We understand that this is the beginning of a great deal of work that lies ahead of us to make sure that we do all we can do to protect our communities," Bottoms said. "It is very clear our police officers should be guardians and not warriors within our communities."

These new reforms come after the deadly shooting of 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks by a white Atlanta police officer at a southwest Atlanta Wendy's. Brooks' death rekindled fiery protests in Atlanta and led to the resignation of Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields. 

Autopsy: Rayshard Brooks' death considered homicide, shot twice in the back

"We saw the worst happen on Friday night with Mr. Brooks. It angered me and it saddened me beyond words," Bottoms said, noting that the man's death led to an "immediate look" at the training policies of Atlanta police.

"This is the third time in two weeks that I spent the better part of the day looking at body cam footage related to the excessive use of force," she said.

The mayor acknowledged that morale was "bad" among Atlanta police officers at this time, but said that these reforms show a shift in expectation across the country and will be better for law enforcement in the end.

Speaking about the demonstrations, Bottoms acknowledged their frustrations but pleaded for peaceful protest.

"Burning down buildings will not get us change in this city because if anything it is going to erase the message and it is going to eclipse what this is all about," she said, pointing out that the area is a food desert and that the restaurant was minority-owned.  

The mayor these orders will be the first in a series of actions that she and her administration will take "so that we can heal as a nation and as a city."