Mayor Kasim Reed's pose in photo causes controversy

31st Annual UNCF Mayor's Masked Ball

A photo floating around cyberspace showing Atlanta’s mayor in the “Hands up, Don’t Shoot,” pose has caused controversy and has angered the local police union.
At the annual UNCF Mayor’s Masked Ball in December, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed raised his hands alongside the likes of filmmaker Will Packer, rappers Ludacris and Young Jeezy, comedian Johnathan Slocumb and actor Chris Tucker. The pose angered Atlanta Police Union’s president Ken Allen.
“The officers of Atlanta were extremely upset seeing that photo,” Allen said.
This photo counters the mayor’s obvious support for local law enforcement. He has adding 900 new officers since taking office and has added new equipment, and new crime fighting programs. It’s why police union leaders say they were baffled when pictures starting popping up on social media of the mayor in the controversial “Hand’s Up, Don’t Shoot” protest pose
The “hands up, don’t shoot” became a national rallying cry after the St. Louis Grand jury found Ferguson (Mo.) police officer Darren Wilson not guilty of the shooting death of Michael Brown.
Allen was perplexed by Reed’s gesture, which is why he stood before the Atlanta City Council on Tuesday to articulate the police union’s disappointment with the perceived mixed message.
“Law enforcement in the city of Atlanta cannot be tarnished by the top elected leader hosting a highly publicized event and taken an active role in controversial tactics of protest and support,” Allen said.
Reed, who was in Washington, did not provide a direct comment. However, a spokesperson for Reed sent the following statement:
“No administration has invested more into the Atlanta Police Department (APD) than Mayor Kasim Reed’s administration.  His commitment and support of APD is unquestionable.   In his first year in office, Mayor Reed approved the first step pay increase APD had received in more than five years.   Since then, Mayor Reed has recruited more than 900 new police officers; bringing the force to 2,000 men and women, the largest number in the city’s history.  Under his leadership, APD created eight new units and programs to tackle violent crime including the Atlanta Proactive Enforcement Interaction (APEX) unit, domestic violence unit, code enforcement section, community liaison unit, expanded school detectives section, path force unit, graffiti taskforce and juvenile offender program.  APD also designated two full-time police officer liaisons to work with the city’s LGBT community.  With the support of the Atlanta Police Foundation, APD is now utilizing new technology to fight crime including PredPol software, the Video Integration Center (VIC), and the Atlanta Police Intelligence Network (APIN) which allows officers to target criminal and gang activity.  APD has also invested in over seventy new patrol cars and three new precincts that provide additional police presence in our neighborhoods.
When a grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri decided not to indict Officer Darren Wilson, Mayor Reed released a statement expressing his disappointment and called on protestors to demonstrate in a peaceful fashion.  Mayor Reed also stated that the decision served as an opportunity for Atlanta, and the rest of the nation, to engage in thoughtful conversation on how to build greater trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.   His participation in the “Hands up, don’t shoot” photo addresses his disagreement with the grand jury’s decision in Ferguson. It is also a gesture that has been used in non-violent protests across the nation, including yesterday’s protests at the 47th celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday.  Further, since Michael Brown’s shooting in August, Mayor Reed has been asked to comment on community policing on multiple occasions both nationally and locally.   In every instance, he has consistently expressed his appreciation of the fine work of the men and women of the Atlanta Police Department.”

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