‘Living in a war zone’: Wealthy Atlanta suburb demands its own police force amid crime spike

The suburb of Buckhead is demanding a separate police force after declaring they are “living in a war zone,” actively seeking a “divorce” from Atlanta proper after an unprecedented spike in crime.

Many residents are so frightened by the surge in lawlessness that they won’t even pump gas at certain stations or go shopping. Shootings, robberies, and other crime rates are jumping as those in Buckhead are now wondering how they can protect their families and homes against a criminal onslaught.

According to Bill White, who is the CEO and chairman of the Buckhead City Committee, they are demanding emergency hearings on separating from the city of Atlanta.

“We are living in a war zone,” White told Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Monday. “That is how we describe living in Buckhead. And what has happened here in the last several years is an incredibly dangerous spike in crime and a complete vacuum of leadership. The police in Atlanta are great policemen and women, we love them and they just want to do their job but they are not being allowed to do that,” he stated.

(Video Credit: Fox News)

White flatly declared that Buckhead wants to “file for divorce” and split from the city of Atlanta.

“What we are saying to the city of Atlanta is we are going to form our own city. We have two bills in the state legislature. We have raised the requisite amount of money we need right now to move this forward. There will be a ballot initiative on the ballot next November. And we are going to take our city back for the great families of Buckhead once and for all,” White explained.

Carlson noted earlier in the segment just how bad things have gotten in Buckhead: “In Buckhead, murders year-to-date are up almost 50 percent—that’s a lot of new dead people. Robberies and aggravated assaults are up by nearly 40 percent. Car thefts are up 65 percent. Lenox Square mall in Buckhead, one of the first indoor shopping malls in the United States, is now too dangerous to visit. Beginning last year, someone was getting shot at the mall virtually every month. In December of 2019, a Macy’s employee was shot during a robbery. The following January, a man trying to defend himself from an armed robber was inadvertently shot by a cop. In February, a drug deal led to a gun battle outside of Bloomingdales. In March, a dispute over a parking space outside the Cheesecake Factory led to more gunfire and killed someone. And so on. People in Buckhead stopped going to the mall.”

A video was shown on Carlson’s show that showcased a drive-by shooting where a bullet traveled through a car and then hit an individual walking by on the street. That’s just one incident in Buckhead among many recent violent altercations.

White claimed that police officers were present at the time of the shooting, but were instructed not to chase the suspect to avoid “getting in accidents.”

“My friend who took that ran down to find out why in God’s name they didn’t chase that person who attempted to murder all those people? And they were told that Mayor [Keisha Lance] Bottoms issued an order not to chase cars around Atlanta because she doesn’t want the police getting in accidents. All those people shot, two police right there wanted to go…and put this smackdown on that attempted murderer,” he noted.

“There are only 82 cops in Buckhead right now with the square footage of San Francisco that has 2,000 cops,” White continued. “One of the things we are positive about is we will put the smackdown on crime once and for all and make Buckhead a great place to live again ”

(Video Credit: Fox News)

The Atlanta Police Department pushed back hard against White’s statements and called them self-contradictory. They contend that if officers rendered help at the scene, by their definition they stopped.

“In truth, several APD officers were near the incident, heard the shots being fired, and immediately reacted,” an APD statement claimed. One officer reportedly bypassed a van that had been shot at in the altercation because he “chose to secure the scene and provide a lookout of the suspect vehicle to additional responding officers.” The officer also provided medical care to those who were wounded.

“Simply because a security camera did not capture all his efforts, a member of the media chose to criticize his efforts and politicize the incident,” the police statement added. “It is extremely frustrating to see our efforts minimized and used in the manner they have been.”

The APD also said: “The new policy does restrict pursuits to only ‘forcible’ or violent felonies and requires officers to have knowledge the person being pursued is involved in a violent crime. We do not feel it is in the public’s best interest to chase individuals who have not been involved in a forcible felony and we continue to stand by that decision.”

“Our officers take crime in this city personally,” their statement claimed. “We are focused on violent crime issues throughout the city and will continue our work to improve the quality of life for those in our city.”

White also responded to those accusing Buckhead residents of being racist for wanting more police protection: “You know, racist and this and that and the other thing, all hateful, very disturbing, unhelpful language that is fearmongering – that will not stop the crime. What will stop the crime is the establishment of the Buckhead city police department. We plan on having 300 police officers for a long period of time.”

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