A councilman in Atlanta who backs the ‘Defund the Police’ movement and is running for mayor, was dragged as he held onto his car while it was being stolen Wednesday at an event.
Antonio Brown was the victim of a carjacking months after he voted for an ordinance that would’ve withheld tens of millions of dollars from the police.
The incident happened as Atlanta deals with a crime surge, with murders up 59 percent and car thefts up 25 percent from a year ago, as of May 22.
There have been 54 murders in Atlanta compared to 34 at this time a year ago, as well as 284 shooting incidents, up 46 percent from a year ago.
At a ribbon-cutting in northwest Atlanta, four people hopped into Brown’s car as he was getting out to speak to someone just before noon – and took off.
‘Several males entered his unlocked car and drove away with it,’ police stated. Brown was driving a Mercedes Coupe, which has a push-button ignition.
Atlanta City Councilman Antonio Brown was the victim of a car theft on Wednesday morning
Brown was seen talking to police after the incident, when kids allegedly took off in his car
Antonio Brown is running for mayor on a platform of ‘reimagining public safety’
He said he held onto the car and was dragged for around a block before letting go.
The councilman told WSBTV that he was on hold with 911 for five minutes after the incident. Brown also claims it took 45 minutes for police to arrive because it was assigned as a low-priority dispatch.
He did file a police report, however, according to FOX 5. His car was located hours after the incident, but no arrests have been announced. Brown doesn’t intend to press charges against the culprits.
‘At this time, officers are gathering information on exactly how this happened and working to identify anyone involved in the incident and locate the stolen vehicle,’ police told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Brown told the newspaper that the thieves appeared to be children, saying, ‘These kids were in my opinion somewhere between 7- and 11-years-old.’
He also claimed that one ‘acted as though he had a gun.’
‘You don’t immediately think, ‘Oh, these kids are going to steal my car,” Brown stated.
Ben Norman of the Dixie Hills Neighborhood Association, who Brown was speaking with, tried to intervene, he said.
‘Ben attempted to open the door, to get [the driver] out of the car. He fought with Ben. I then engaged and tried to get him out of the car,’ Brown stated.
He and Norman both held onto the car, with Norman letting go first. Brown said he was scratched up in the confrontation.
‘He started to speed up and I knew if I had not let go, I could have killed myself because he was going so fast,’ Brown added.
The mayoral candidate pointed towards poverty as being a reason for the car theft.
‘This is a generational poverty issue. These kids, it’s 12:30 in the afternoon. Why aren’t they in school? Why aren’t we enforcing systems to ensure that if they are not in school, they’re in recreational centers?’ Brown said.
Brown added to FOX 5, ‘The reality is this: We need programmatic initiatives in place to help support these kids to be able to give them another pathway instead of them of them committing crimes.’
Brown entered the mayoral race on May 14 to replace Keisha Lance Bottoms, who is not running for another term.
Brown claims he was dragged for a block after a group of kids hopped in his car and fled
Brown (seen in front of an ‘Abolish ICE’ sign) has voted on a ‘Defund the Police’ measure
He is running on a platform of ‘reimagining public safety’ and has previously expressed support for the ‘Defund the Police’ movement.
According to The Intercept, Brown proposed sequestering about a third of the police department’s budget in the aftermath of the police killing of Rayshard Brooks.
Brown voted for the ordinance, which would’ve withheld $73 million from the city’s police budget and reallocated it to social services, pending a plan from the mayor to change the policing culture.
That ordinance was ultimately voted down in a tight vote.
The movement has been facing obstacles lately, with many cities beginning to reverse proposed budget cuts and even increase funding to police departments.
Out of the nation’s 20 largest police departments, city leaders have already submitted next year’s budget proposals for 12, and nine of those request funding increases ranging from 1 to 6 percent, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Crime in Atlanta has been soaring since the past year, especially murders and shootings
He said he held onto the car and was dragged for around a block before letting go (scene pic)
The sea change comes a year after the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer spurred calls to defund and even abolish police departments, with many city leaders buckling to meet the demands.
In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio reversed course and promised $92 million for a new precinct after scrapping the project last summer as he vowed to slash the NYPD budget by $1 billion.
In Baltimore, Mayor Brandon Scott, who last year led efforts to cut police funding by $22 million as a city councilman, is now pleading with the council for an increase of $27 million.
And in Los Angeles, Mayor Eric Garcetti has proposed an increase of about $50 million after the city cut $150 million from the LAPD budget last year.
In Texas, the state legislature is pushing a bill that would severely punish cities that defund their police department.
Aimed primarily at city leaders in Austin, the liberal-dominated state capital, HB 1900 passed the Texas Senate on Monday over the objections of Democrats.
The bill would allow vast tracts of Austin that have been annexed since the 1990s to vote to secede from the city unless police funding is restored.
Brown twtted after the incident, but before his car was reportedly found
The pushback to ‘Defund the Police’ comes as the murder rate soared an average of 30 percent across 34 major cities last year, and has continued to increase dramatically this year in many places.
Brown is having his own legal problems, as he is facing an indictment on federal fraud charges for allegedly lying about his income to obtain loans and credit cards for personal use.