170 Atlanta police officers called out sick during ‘Blue Flu’ protests, records show

What?s clear from the documents is that most of the officers called in sick last Friday and that most of them worked downtown in the center of protests.

About 170 Atlanta police officers called out sick in the days after two cops were charged in the shooting death of Rayshard Brooks, according to records obtained by Channel 2 Action News.

The wave of officers who did not show up for work has been dubbed the “Blue Flu” by many. The majority of the officers who called in sick worked downtown, where protests have had their largest presence, Channel 2 reported.

ExploreCOMPLETE COVERAGE: Rayshard Brooks case and Atlanta protests

Retired police detective Vince Velasquez told the news station that the city’s initial response downplayed the number of officers who called out.

“The public should know that’s a significant amount of police officers who did not come to work during that time period,” Velasquez said.

RELATED: APD morale at all-time low following tumultuous two weeks

Atlanta?s interim-police chief said resources have been shifted and a wave of officer sick calls have strained the department this week, but he?s prepared to do what it takes to support his staff and the community.

At the time, the department said a "higher than usual number" of officers did not show up, while emphasizing that 911 calls will still be answered. Interim police Chief Rodney Bryant and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms also reiterated that 911 calls will not go unanswered in the city.

RELATED: Interim Atlanta police chief: 'We will not fail this city'

In total, 171 officers called out sick between June 17, which was the day the officers were charged in Brooks' death, and last Saturday, according to the documents. Former officer Garrett Rolfe faces 11 charges, including felony murder, while officer Devin Brosnan faces four charges.

MORE: Fulton DA charges former APD cop with murder in Wendy's shooting

Garrett Rolfe (left), Devin Brosnan
Garrett Rolfe (left), Devin Brosnan

Last Friday night, the city was missing 90 police officers due to a sickout status. Nearly half of them came from Zone 5, which covers most of downtown Atlanta.

“Some officers have flatly told me that they’re afraid to go to work and to answer a call and commit to a process and feel like they’re doing the right thing, feel like they’re doing their jobs, and then face not just disciplinary action, but prosecution,” Velasquez told Channel 2.

In addition to the uptick in officers calling in sick, the department has had 10 officers resign in June, according to Channel 2. Another five officers have been dismissed and five more retired.

ExploreThis story was first reported by Channel 2 Action News.

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