Mayor says Kemp’s calling in National Guard was ‘showmanship’

ATLANTA — Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said Wednesday that she and Gov. Brian Kemp are not seeing eye-to-eye when it comes to his response to COVID-19 -- or to violence during recent protests.

Bottoms spoke exclusively to Channel 2 Anchor Justin Farmer about Kemp’s decision to bring in the National Guard this weekend. Kemp deployed 1,000 troops after an 8-year-old girl was shot and killed near the Wendy’s where Rayshard Brooks died last weekend.

Secoriea Turner was in a car with her mother when the driver tried to get around an illegal barrier placed by people occupying the burnt-out Wendy's. Someone fired shots into the car, striking Turner.

"As of late, we have not been working together as closely as I would like for us too," Bottoms said. "We have very different opinions when it comes to our approach to COVID. Very different opinions about what the needs are in the city."

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Bottoms said the the real needs in our city relate to how we are testing and how we coordinate to make sure that our cities are safe.

"But to announce that the National Guard was coming -- it was not discussed with me, it was not discussed with our police chief" Bottoms said. "To me, it speaks to showmanship and this need to show that there are tanks on the streets of Atlanta."

Bottoms said that if the state was really coordinating, there would be conversations between various public safety divisions in the state.

Bottoms said it's unfortunate that peaceful demonstrations over Rayshard Brooks' death were marred by violence.

"This is something we've never seen or experienced in the city at this rate over such a short period of time," Bottoms said. "I think it really speaks to how volatile our country is right now. This is not happening just in Atlanta. We're seeing it happen across America."

Farmer asked Bottoms how things were in regards to a sickout among Atlanta police last month after charges were filed against the officer who shot and killed Rayshard Brooks.

On the night of July 4th, five people were killed and dozens shot in at least six shootings across the city.

“It has improved,” Bottoms said. “Even on the night of all the shootings, we did not have a mass sickout that night. It wasn’t lack of personnel on the streets. It was just an unprecedented night in our city.”