Atlanta mayor responds to Channel 2 investigation about use of blue lights

ATLANTA — Atlanta's mayor and other local officials are weighing in after Channel 2 investigated the mayor's use of blue lights and how he travels throughout the city.

Former city council president and mayoral candidate Cathy Woolard reached out to Channel 2's Lori Geary after our investigation into the mayor's use of blue lights.

“We have to go back to the premise of the law.  Elected officials can't use blue lights and sirens unless it's an emergency,” Woolard said.

Woolard said she will make the use of blue lights and sirens an issue in the 2017 crowded race after a Channel 2 Action News investigation revealed mayor Kasim Reed's security detail uses them to travel to news conferences, job announcements, groundbreakings and debate watch parties, which are all non-emergencies.

We saw them blowing through red lights and traveling on the shoulder to get through traffic.

Several members of law enforcement told Geary those actions violate state law.

“To use the lights and sirens the way he's using them, to clear the intersections to get through is not legal in the state of Georgia,” Vincent Champion said.

“It’s a big example of the kinds of things people look at and say, 'Hmmm, government is not working.  We've got elected officials who are zooming through traffic that is clearly illegal, it's dangerous.  Why shouldn't I be able to do that?” Woolard said.

Geary questioned Reed about it.

“I’m doing my job the way I think I should,” he said.

Reed went on a local Atlanta radio station Wednesday morning, criticizing the investigation.

“Lori Geary, who I’ve known for 15 years, needlessly slandered me,” Reed said.

He told listeners that he is just trying to do his job, and that he has multiple threats against him and his family.

“It’s really not about me feeling like I’m above the law and I’m just trying to do a job that's really hard,” Reed said. “The bottom line is it costs what it costs to secure the chief executive of the city.”

Woolard disagrees with the statements.

“You don't just rewrite the law because you think you know better. If you don't like the law get the law changed,” Woolard said.