Joe Beasley has pushed for civil and human rights for decades.
Photo: File photo
Photo: File photo

Apology issued after Atlanta officer draws gun on 82-year-old activist

The Atlanta Police Department has issued an apology to a longtime civil rights activist after an officer pulled a gun on him Wednesday.

Officers were serving a narcotics warrant at a home on Jett Street in northwest Atlanta, police spokesman Carlos Campos told AJC.com in a statement. As they were doing so, Joe Beasley drove up and was directed to turn around, according to police. 

Beasley, 82, is a former regional director of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition founded by the Rev. Jesse Jackson. His civic involvement ranges from the saving of Grady Memorial Hospital to helping the homeless.

“The officer drew his service weapon while directing Mr. Beasley to turn around,” Campos said. “The drawing of the weapon is not consistent with APD’s training and we will be addressing that internally, along with expressing our apologies to Mr. Beasley for the stress that this undoubtedly caused him.”

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Reached Friday by AJC.com, Beasley acknowledged the incident but said he planned to further discuss the matter early next week.

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When asked if it’s rare for the APD to issue such an apology to a citizen, Campos responded via email: “We are aware of, and respect, Dr. Beasley’s status as a long-time civil rights and social justice advocate in the city of Atlanta for many years. We believe the issue is not complicated: A mistake was made and an apology was merited.” 

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