Antonio Brown, the city of Atlanta’s first Black out LGBTQ city council member, is throwing his hat into the race to be the next Atlanta mayor.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Brown, 30, filed paperwork with the Georgia Campaign Finance Commission last Friday that would allow him to begin fundraising for a mayoral run. The city official is yet to formally announce his candidacy, but an announcement through his Committee to Reimagine Atlanta Together is expected to occur in the next few days.
Brown made history in 2019 by winning a special election to represent Atlanta’s third district on the Atlanta City Council, becoming the youngest and first Black out LGBTQ person to ever serve in that capacity. He quickly became an aggressive progressive voice within the city government, often clashing with current mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms while pushing for reforms in multiple sectors.
In less than two years, Brown has proposed numerous policing reforms, including leading calls for the Atlanta Police Department to strengthen its policy requiring officers intervene when observing fellow officers breaking the law or department rules. He has also advocated for the establishment of a new Public Safety Commissioner position and a non-emergency response unit to better address mental health incidents and non-violent crimes.
He also sponsored legislation aimed at outlawing police use of less-lethal “riot agents,” like tear gas and rubber bullets and banning the rejection of federal housing vouchers as rent payments by local landlords.
Brown joins a crowded field, including two fellow City Council members and potentially former Mayor Kasim Reed, vying to replace Bottoms after she declared she wouldn’t seek a second term as Atlanta’s mayor.
While his activity during his short time in city government is impressive, legal troubles dating back to 2012 could impact his mayoral campaign before it even gets started. Brown was indicted by a federal grand jury in July 2020 on multiple counts of fraud connected to allegations that he falsified his income on multiple loans applications and credit cards that were then used for personal purchases. Brown is also alleged to have lied about having his identity stolen as part of the defrauding effort.
The allegations date back to 2012, seven years before Brown’s election to the Atlanta City Council, but being indicted while holding public office puts him in rare company. Brown is the first city official to be indicted while holding office since the 1993 indictment against D.L. Fowlkes. When asked for comment last month by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Brown said he was “thankful for the three amazing female attorneys who are fighting to prove my innocence. In the meantime I will continue to fight for the people of Atlanta.”