Some Atlanta police officers called in sick and refused to respond to calls on Wednesday night to protest criminal charges against their former colleague, Garrett Rolfe, in the murder of Rayshard Brooks.
Asked how many officers called in sick, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms told CNN’s Chris Cuomo, “We don’t have a count yet, because we were in the midst of a shift change.”
“But what I do know is that we do have enough officers to cover us through the night, and our streets won’t be any less safe because of the number of officers who called out,” the mayor added. “But it’s just my hope again that the officers will remember the commitment they made when they held up their hand and they were sworn in as police officers.”
More from CNN: Hours after a fired police officer was charged with felony murder for fatally shooting a man in the back, Atlanta police officers are not responding to calls in three of the department’s six zones, multiple sources within the Atlanta Police Department told CNN on Wednesday evening. … In its statement, the Atlanta Police Department said reports that multiple officers from each zone had walked off the job were inaccurate. … Bottoms said that some officers are staying on shift to make up the difference and the city could call on partners in other departments across the metropolitan area and in other jurisdictions if needed.
The Washington Post reports: A police union spokesman confirmed the protest to NBC News, but said the union had not organized a formal walkout. Throughout Wednesday night, more officers reportedly called in sick, refused to show up to any calls except those requesting backup and went radio-silent. “This is not an organized thing, it’s not a blue flu, it’s not a strike, it’s nothing like that,” Vince Champion, a spokesman for the International Brotherhood of Police Officers, told NBC News. “What it actually is is officers protesting that they’ve had enough and they don’t want to deal with it any longer.” The “blue flu,” which Champion denied, is a type of de facto police strike in which a large group of officers simultaneously call in sick. Essential state employees, like police and first responders, are legally forbidden from actually walking out on the job in many jurisdictions.