ATLANTA, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) -- In a virtual public safety update on October 28, 2020, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms discussed ongoing challenges. "We recognize that we are seeing an uptick in crime in Atlanta, and unfortunately, Atlanta is not alone, because this is a national trend," Bottoms said.
She and Interim Police Chief Rodney Bryant discussed how they are expanding federal and local partnerships, increasing surveillance and taking other steps to address the problem. "We are really moving in the right direction, as it relates to public safety," Bryant said.
However, dozens of attorneys representing families of alleged police brutality victims have said the city is moving in the wrong direction by failing to settle their cases.
"I disagree with what they said. There is a process that we have to go through," Bottoms said, responding to their accusations. "These attorneys know that settlements and litigation take time. At the point you file a lawsuit or at the point you begin to mediate, it's not an overnight process."
The attorneys have acknowledged her prompt response regarding the cases, in terms of firing several of the officers involved. "I took very swift actions as it relates to what I could do when these issues arose," said Bottoms, referring to her decision to terminate officers involved in tasing two college students during protests and the shooting death of Rayshard Brooks.
To help settle the cases, the attorneys are demanding the city insure its police officers. Bottoms says the city has been self-insured for decades. "Even if we did have some type of outside insurance policy, I'm not sure that it would change the course of the settlement discussions," she said. Despite the disagreement, she said she plans to continue her discussions with the attorneys.
"The thing that I can tell you I do take exception to is the notion that I somehow don't personally care. That is wrong," Bottoms said. "I don't ever want there to be any misunderstanding as to my personal feelings and my personal empathy and compassion for what these families have been through." Attorneys have said they also acknowledge her compassion for the families, but said they have not seen that same compassion in the courtroom.
Bottoms said they all share a common goal. "Resolution is something that we're all trying to reach, in terms of a monetary settlement," she said.
The attorneys have said they intend to continue making recommendations to the city while advocating for the families.
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