The Atlanta Police Department said it saw an uptick in the number of officers calling out of work Wednesday night – hours after local prosecutors announced charges against the ex-cop who shot and killed Rayshard Brooks.
“The department is experiencing a higher than usual number of call-outs with incoming shift,” Atlanta PD tweeted. “We have enough resources to maintain operations and remain able to respond to incidents.”
Earlier on Wednesday, Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard announced felony murder charges against Garrett Rolfe – who was fired Saturday after shooting Brooks twice in the back during a scuffle outside a Wendy’s restaurant.
Rolfe, 27, will face 11 charges in all, and could be sentenced to death if convicted.
The second officer involved in Brooks’ death, Devin Brosnan, 26, will face three charges, including aggravated assault – and will testify against Rolfe, the first time an Atlanta cop has crossed the thin blue line.
Following the announcement, some outlets, citing sources, reported that the officers were walking off the job en masse, affecting several of the six zones that the APD cops patrol.
The APD tweeted in response that “earlier suggestions that multiple officers from each zone had walked off the job were inaccurate” – while noting that the number of call-outs was “higher than usual.”
A union rep told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that “There are pairs walking off … Some are walking off and sitting in their own vehicles.”
“There are officers saying they are not going to leave the precinct unless to help another officer,” said Vince Champion, the Southeast regional director for the International Brotherhood of Police Officers.
Neither Atlanta police nor a local union representative confirmed the number of officers involved in the newspaper.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms told CNN’s “Cuomo Prime Time” that she has had the exact number of cops who had walked out, but that “we did have enough pairs to cover us through the night” and “we’d be fine.”
“I hope our officers will remember the commitment they made when they held up their hands and were sworn in as police officers,” she said.