ATLANTA — The city of Atlanta is promising new initiatives to provide training for entrepreneurial youth as it cracks down on unpermitted water sales along city streets.
Channel 2 investigative reporter Mark Winne spoke one-on-one Monday with Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms about the city’s plans.
“As I was moving around town this weekend I came across some very polite young men who were selling water, but we know there are many out there who are not equally polite, and I’ve heard personal stories. A very good friend shared with me having, water bottles were thrown at her car when she refused to buy water,” Bottoms said. “Of course, we know of the 18-year-old who was killed after a dispute, so this is a problem.”
Bottoms also expressed concerned for the kids’ safety.
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“They could be robbed. They could be run over,” she said. “You have some kids out there who have some great entrepreneurial spirit. But clearly it’s not directed and harnessed and directed in the way that it needs to be to be productive.”
Bottoms’ office told Winne that earlier this month, the mayor ordered creation of an advisory council to “recommend strategies for the development of fueling the entrepreneurial spirit of young
people throughout the city.”
“While the advisory council is meeting, what’s the mandate Atlanta police have for dealing with young people selling water on the streets right now?” Winne asked Bottoms.
“They’ve been instructed to do what they need to do to get them off of the streets including detaining them and taking them into juvenile court. Hopefully these kids will heed the warnings to leave. The first option is not to detain these kids but to tell them that they need to disperse. The challenge that we’re having with juvenile court, with COVID, these kids aren’t being detained and who have guns. Quite often, again, it’s a revolving door because of where we are with COVID, they’re being released to their parents,” Bottoms said.
Winne contacted Fulton County juvenile court officials about the mayor’s comments and received this statement.
“The Juvenile Code provides very specific guidelines regarding pre-adjudication detention for youth when allegations have not been substantiated by the Court. In making decisions about appropriate detention measures, the Court prioritizes public safety while carefully balancing the interests of both the youth and the community.”
Cox Media Group