Reed to respond to Black Lives Matter demands within 2 weeks

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and a Black Lives Matter organizer got into a heated discussion at a town hall event Tuesday.

About 100 people attended the Channel 2 Action News “Atlanta Unite” town hall, which brought together community leaders and Atlanta officials following weeks of protests triggered by the police-shooting deaths of two black men in Louisiana and Minnesota.

Reed and Black Lives Matter organizer Mary Hook bumped heads on several issues including homelessness, Atlanta officers in public schools and protesting on highways. Reed was presented with a list of demands Monday.

RELATED: Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed: Meeting BLM protesters was productive

“The greatest threat isn’t the highway,” Hooks said. “The real threat is people not being able to work.”

Hooks challenged Reed on his commitments to combating homelessness in Atlanta and removing armed police from Atlanta schools. Reed defended his position on the issues, saying Atlanta has been in a better position on homelessness since he became mayor.

“You shared your reality,” Reed said. “I’m here to share mine.”

Reed also said Atlanta police were no longer in Atlanta Public Schools. The school system swore in its own police force July 23, replacing officers that were patroling the schools.

Reed said he’ll respond to the group’s demands in detail within seven to 15 days. He added he’d look into some of the ideas, such as rotating officers working difficult beats.

“I’ll answer every single one so you’ll know where I stand,” he said.

The demands include:

  • Redirect general funds from the police department – which accounts for 52 percent of the spending – to social services and projects.
  • Release the of surveillance footage from the 2015 Alexia Christian shooting.
  • Stop allowing the Atlanta Police Department to train with Israeli trainers.
  • Decrease the presence of police officers in schools.

Reed said he welcomes other meetings in the future with Black Lives Matters’ protesters to work toward a solution.

“I found the meetings yesterday very refreshing and needed and I tried to convey that tonight,” he said.

Hooks said: “I don’t know about the next steps, but we are in active resistance until something changes.”

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