Atlanta

Atlanta is 1 step closer to keeping street racers in jail longer

ATLANTA — There’s a new development in the crack-down on street racing.

Hundreds of people joined a public safety committee meeting Monday night – they say they’re “over” the racing outside their homes.

The committee voted in favor of moving forward with a new ordinance putting in place more permanent punishment.

Atlanta police says they’ve been arresting people who have been able to get out of jail on their own because of this court being closed.

Now the municipal court is back open, a new ordinance is moving forward to try and end what’s called a deadly nuisance.

“Yes, it’s an emergency because now deaths are occurring,” said Atlanta City Councilman Michael Julian Bond.

Bond’s proposal makes it harder for people arrested for street racing to bond out of jail. The proposal will be up for a full council vote next.

Bond wants it to work as a deterrent to help with Atlanta police’s ongoing crackdown.

“We’re not about criminalizing people, we just want to make the city and the streets of Atlanta, safer pedestrian safe for all people,” Bond said.

Atlanta’s chief municipal court judge issued a temporary order on the Oct. 15 stating anyone arrested for street racing has to appear in front of a judge before bonding out.

The city legislation passed on Monday would make this a permanent policy for the municipal court.

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More than 200 people called into the public safety meeting for the public comment section - mostly in support.

“The only way to keep them off the street is to allow them to be punished,” one citizen said.

“The worst penalties, staying in jail, impounding cars, everything possible to stop the street racing is necessary,” another citizen said.

But some accuse the policy of criminalizing young African American men.

[RELATED: Over 450 arrests made by APD related to street racing, car stunts over last 6 months]

“That is a horrible solution to an issue that has other solutions,” a citizen said.

“We should have other programs to help those kids, I don’t think arresting them is the right move,” another citizen said.

The ordinance comes days after police say they arrested a street racer accused of killing 18-year-old Anjanee McClain and her friend’s 3-month-old boy Cayden.

Shamir Floyd is in the Cobb County jail after investigators there linked him to the Sept. crash on 10th Street in Atlanta.

Police say Floyd was driving more than 120 miles per hour before state troopers tried to pull him over. He’s accused of crashing into the car carrying McClain, Cayden and three others.

McClain’s family says the current laws don’t go far enough.

“I feel like that if you get pulled over for racing, it should be a felony,” the family’s stepfather said.

Atlanta police has a street racing detail, and over the past two weeks they’ve made 21 arrests and issued 365 citations.

The number of people arrested is far fewer than the number of complaints they get about racing and laying drag.

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