An Atlanta mayoral candidate kicked off his campaign with a platform of “reimagine” policing in the city. On May 26, his car was stolen by elementary school children at lunchtime.
Antonio Brown, an Atlanta citycoucil member who has tossed his hat in the ring to run for mayor, was one of seven council members who voted for a motion to cut $73 million of the Atlanta Police Department’s budget until Mayor Keisha Lance-Bottoms’ administration drafted a plan to “reinvent the culture of policing” in the city. The ordinance was narrowly defeated.
That’s probably a good thing. Brown complained that he was on hold for 5 minutes after calling 911 when a group of school children stole his car on Wednesday.
Brown was meeting up with locals to discuss plans to build affordable housing in the city’s northwest when a group of children between the ages of approximately 6 to 12 hopped into his unlocked car and started it. The car has keyless ignition and Brown was standing just a few feet away.
Brown told WSB-TV in Atlanta, “These kids were in my opinion somewhere between 7- and 11-years-old. So you don’t immediately think, ‘Oh, these kids are going to steal my car.’”
Antonio Brown said he was on Verbena Street in the Dixie Hills community in northwest Atlanta, which he represents on the city council. He turned off his car, which has a keyless start, got out of the car, and had stopped to talk to community leader Ben Norman and was just a few feet away from his white Mercedes coupe.
Brown told police that he noticed four children no more than 11 or 12 years old, the youngest possibly 6 or 7 walking around a nearby store. Within seconds they were in his car.
“We tried to go there and maybe try to get the kid out of the car. So, I’m like, what do you do to a kid, right?” said Ben Norman. “He had already starting figuring out…I mean they had plans, they knew what they were going to do. He hit the gas and he pulled out, peeled out, and took off.”
“One kid was in the driver’s seat. Ben attempted to open the door to get him out of the car. He fought with Ben. I then engaged and tried to get him out of the car. The three other kids were trying to figure out how to get in the car or stay out of the car. He started to hit on the gas. Ben let go,” said Brown…
…Brown did file a report with the Atlanta Police Department. Officers said they found Brown’s car a few hours later but did not say if they made any arrests. Brown said he does not want to press charges.
Source: WAGA Fox 5 Atlanta
Brown tried to hang on, but eventually had to let go and suffered minor scratches in the incident.
Here’s the Fox 5 report:
Brown blamed the situation on “generational poverty” and wondered why the kids weren’t in school.
“This is a generational poverty issue. 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?” Brown ranted to WSB-TV.
Here’s the reason that they’re not in school…the Atlanta School Board has had reserved Wednesdays for “asyncronous learning” for the entire school year. Yesterday, on the last day of the school year, Atlanta Public Schools were open for in-person and synchronous learning for the first time in months, but these kids clearly didn’t get the memo or simply didn’t care. They’ve been getting every Wednesdays as an essential holiday for an entire year — why would they log-in on the last day? What is that supposed to do?
Here’s the bigger question — how did a city councilor who is running for mayor not know that?
Oh, and by the way, according to WSB-TV, Brown’s car hasn’t yet been found.