Atlanta Mayor to Clear Protests After Death of Eight-Year-Old

'We are doing each other more harm than any police officer on this force,' mayor says

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July 6, 2020

Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D.) announced Sunday that the city will clear the area that's been occupied by anti-police protesters after a child was shot and killed on Saturday night.

Bottoms, who marched with Black Lives Matter protesters just a month ago, said on Sunday that the protests are now doing more harm than good and condemned the wave of violence that culminated in the death of eight-year-old Secoriea Turner.

"You can't blame this on police officers," Bottoms said. "It's about people who shot a baby in a car. We're doing each other more harm than any officer on this force."

At least two members of the protest opened fire on a car containing Turner, her mother, and another adult male as it approached a parking lot they were blocking the entrance to. Turner was brought to the hospital, but did not survive her injuries.

Turner's father, Secoriya Williamson, also spoke out against the Black Lives Matter protest.

"They killed my baby because she crossed a barrier and made a U-turn?" Williamson said. "Black Lives Matter? You killing your own. You killed an 8-year-old child. She ain't did nothing to no one of y'all. She just wanted to get home to see her cousin. That's all she wanted to do."

In the past month, the area surrounding the Wendy's parking lot where Rayshard Brooks was shot and killed while in police custody has become a hotbed for protesters, who have set fire to the restaurant and illegally barricaded nearby streets.

Bottoms condemned those who have continued to protest as the demonstrations turned violent, saying the "blood of Secoriea Turner" is on the hands of all who were part of the Saturday crowd.

"If you are part of a protest or demonstration that looks like it’s going the wrong way, that’s your time to pull back because you are no longer part of the solution, you are part of the problem," Bottoms said. "If you are part of these gatherings that are becoming disruptive and becoming deadly, then on your hands, too, is the blood of Secoriea Turner."

Atlanta’s interim police chief Rodney Bryant said 23 people were shot in the city on Saturday night, and 3 were killed. On Sunday night, a 53-year-old man was shot and killed in the area where both Turner and Brooks died.