Nationwide calls for police reform landed outside Atlanta police headquarters Wednesday morning. Some employees were greeted by “Defund Police” painted in large, yellow letters at the intersection of Garnett and Pryor streets.
Atlanta police said they were notified around 2 a.m. about suspicious activity in the area.
“When officers arrived they saw several people in their late teens or early 20s get into vehicles and flee the area,” a department spokesman told AJC.com in a statement.
The city’s public works department was asked to remove the two-word statement. Photos captured by an Atlanta Journal-Constitution photographer show a city employee pressure-washing the paint off the roadway.
The incident comes one day after George Floyd’s funeral — and the same day that Floyd’s brother tearfully challenged Congress to put police reforms in place.
Floyd, 46, was killed in Minneapolis, Minnesota, when a police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
Philonese Floyd on Wednesday testified before the House Judiciary Committee, asking that something be done to ensure his brother is “more than another face on a T-shirt. More than another name on a list that won’t stop growing.”
“I’m here today to ask you to make it stop. Stop the pain,” he said in the hearing room.
Protesters and activists around the country have fervently called on elected officials to downsize or abolish police departments. Often, calls to defund police departments aim to cut spending on large law enforcement agencies to reallocate the funds toward mental health, housing and education programs.
In Minneapolis, a majority of city council members said on Sunday that they support disbanding their police department — an action that would potentially allow room to move nearly $200 million in city funds.
Locally, supporters have said defunding police departments will help address systemic problems with policing in America, such as racial profiling.
Asia Simone Burns is a watchdog reporter for the AJC. Burns was formerly an intern in AJC’s newsroom and now writes about crime. She is a graduate of Samford University and has previously reported for NPR and WABE, Atlanta’s NPR member station.