Police upset with mayor over “Hands up, don’t shoot” photo

A local police union is upset with Mayor Kasim Reed over a photo that they say perpetuates fear of public safety officers.

At issue is a December photo of Reed and a host celebrities, including actor Chris Tucker and rapper Ludacris, with arms raised in a gesture commonly referred to “hands up, don’t shoot.” The gesture has come to symbolize tension between law enforcement agencies and minority communities following the death of Ferguson, Mo. teenager Michael Brown, who died in a police-involved shooting last year.

A spokeswoman from Reed’s office said his participation in the photo was a reaction to a grand jury’s decision not to indict the police officer over Brown’s death.

“Since Michael Brown’s shooting in August, Mayor Reed has been asked to comment on community policing on multiple occasions both nationally and locally,” Anne Torres said in a statement. “In every instance, he has consistently expressed his appreciation of the fine work of the men and women of the Atlanta Police Department.”

But to Ken Allen, president of the International Brotherhood of Police Officers Local 623, the photo sends a troubling message about the APD.

“It’s sending a message to the community that contradicts what I think we do in Atlanta,” he said. “This department is one of the more diverse … I think the message tells the public that there is an issue.”

The complete story is available now on MYAJC.com.

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