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‘Defund Police’ painted in block letters outside Atlanta police headquarters

The message was painted in yellow letters outside of Atlanta Police Department headquarters. A city employee pressure-washed the paint off the road Wednesday morning.
The message was painted in yellow letters outside of Atlanta Police Department headquarters. A city employee pressure-washed the paint off the road Wednesday morning.

Credit: ALYSSA POINTER / AJC.COM

Credit: ALYSSA POINTER / AJC.COM

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.

RELATED: Police unions brace for fight as calls grow to 'defund' law enforcement

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.

MORE: 'Stop the pain,' a brother of George Floyd tells Congress

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.

In Athens-Clarke County, Commissioner Mariah Parker is proposing a policy that would cut the police force in half over 10 years and replace officers with unarmed mental health and social work first responders.

RELATED: Biden campaign says it does not support 'defunding the police' movement

— Please return to AJC.com for updates.

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State election, county and other officials blamed each other for the chaos.