An Atlanta city councilman who voted to withhold funds from the police had his car stolen Wednesday in broad daylight.
The incident unfolded around 11:45 a.m., when Councilman Antonio Brown told officers he stepped out of his car to speak with someone, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Then, “several males entered his unlocked car and drove away with it,” police said.
Brown told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution the thieves appeared to be kids and one “acted as though he had a gun.”
“You don’t immediately think, ‘Oh, these kids are going to steal my car,'” Brown reportedly said. Brown told the outlet he grabbed onto the back of the car and was dragged down the street before he let go.
Brown said the kids likely stole his car because of poverty, according to WSB-TV 2.
“This is a generational poverty issue. These kids, it’s 12:30 in the afternoon. Why aren’t they in school? Why aren’t we enforcing systems to ensure that if they are not in school, they are in recreational centers.”
Brown told the Daily Caller the kids were likely between 7-12 years old. Officers allegedly took 45 minutes to respond to the situation because dispatch misclassified the call.
Brown also said he doesn’t plan on filing charges because he doesn’t want to “negatively impact these kids’ life and destroy their future over something materialist like a car,” and that he hopes the suspects will be placed in a rehabilitation program.
Police said the investigation is ongoing and they are “working to identify anyone involved in the incident and locate the stolen vehicle.”
Brown, who’s running for mayor, voted in favor of an ordinance to withhold $73 million from the Atlanta Police Department budget, but the ordinance did not have enough vote to pass, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Atlanta City Councilman Antonio Brown voted to #DefundThePolice last year only to have his Mercedes Benz stolen in broad daylight Wednesday by 4 kids while he was at a ribbon-cutting. https://t.co/SULnsyWkbX
— PARIS (@PARISDENNARD) May 27, 2021
The ordinance would have withheld the money until Mayor Keisha Lance Bottom’s created a plan to reimagine policing, according to the report. The ordinance was reportedly intended to give the city council leverage in the overseeing process of reimagining the police department.
Crime is up drastically in the city, with shootings up around 50% this year already, according to WSB-TV 2. Murders, meanwhile, are up 60% while rape and aggravated assaults are also up in the double digits, according to the report.
Arrests are down 40%, as there has been a decrease in arrests by the Atlanta Police Department, WSB-TV 2 reported. (RELATED: Former Atlanta Officer Charged In Fatal Shooting Sues Mayor And Police Chief, Reportedly Alleging Unlawful Termination)
Lack of support was cited as one of the biggest factors for officers leaving, President of the International Brotherhood of Police Officer Sgt. Jason Segura told 11 Alive.
“Majority of it is just the lack of support. You have officers that have been trained by the Academy as far as what you can and can’t do, what the law is, what your SOPs are, and when it comes down to it … So, it’s just a lot of confusion.”