by WorldTribune Staff, May 27, 2021
Councilman Antonio Brown, who is running for mayor, has been an advocate for “defunding” the police in Atlanta.
At about noon on Wednesday, Brown had stepped out of his Mercedes coupe to speak to another community leader when a group of children stole his car, reports say.
Brown told Fox 5 that the thieves appeared to be no more than 11 or 12 years old and one looked to be no older than 6.
While attempting to stop them, Brown said he was dragged outside the vehicle for about half a block.
“As he started to speed up, and I knew that if I had not let go, I knew I probably could have killed myself because he was going so fast, I would have started to tumble. And I would have hurt him,” Brown said.
As a City Council member, Brown has voted to defund millions of dollars from the police department’s budget.
Brown launched his mayoral run on the platform of “reimagining” public safety and policing in Atlanta, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
He was one of seven council members who voted in support of an ordinance to withhold $73 million from Atlanta’s police department budget until Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ administration drafted a plan to reinvent the city’s culture of policing, the Journal-Constitution reported.
After his Mercedes was stolen, Brown filed a report with the police department.
His car was located by police a few hours later, but Brown said he did not want to file charges against the kids.
Brown blames poverty for the actions of the young thieves.
“This is a generational poverty issue,” Brown said. “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’re in recreational centers?”
“The reality is this,” Brown told WAGA-TV. “We need programmatic initiatives in place to help support these kids to be able to give them another pathway instead of them committing crimes.”
The incident happened as Atlanta deals with a crime surge, with murders up 59 percent and car thefts up 25 percent from a year ago, as of May 22. There have been 54 murders in Atlanta compared to 34 at this time in 2020, as well as 284 shootings, up 46 percent from a year ago.