Ga. House Speaker threatens state intervention over Atlanta’s crime increase

ATLANTA — Georgia’s House Speaker is saying the state may have to step in if Atlanta can’t get its crime problem under control.

“Atlanta has a crime problem and doesn’t seem to be able to bring it under control,” House Speaker David Ralston said.

He said that’s why he wants state Rep. J. Collins, Chairman of the House Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security to hold hearings this summer to determine if state intervention is needed.

“In the past, I have resisted calls for state oversight of a city’s operation, but this pandemic of lawlessness has now reached crisis proportions,” Ralston said.

The House Speaker sent Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms a letter telling her about the hearings and that he’s disturbed that 192 Atlanta police officers quit, retired or were terminated in 2020.

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Channel 2′s Dave Huddleston showed the letter to Atlanta City Councilman Michael Julian Bond.

“I think the administration has underestimated the community’s feeling about the crime issue in the city,” Bond said.

Bond said he’s heard from business leaders and residents that they don’t feel safe.

“They feel like they are under siege and there probably needs to be more muscular approach to policing,” Bond said.

The state’s attorney general also sent a letter saying we will not allow what is happening in Atlanta to go unaddressed.

Huddleston took the concerns to the mayor’s staff. They sent him a statement, saying:

“Fighting this COVID crime wave is our top priority. Atlanta, as well as the rest of the state and country, has faced an historic increase in gun violence over the last year. If lawmakers have solutions to stemming access to guns by criminals and addressing gang violence, that have not already been enacted by the City, we welcome their input.”

But for many, including state leaders, the mayor’s current plan doesn’t appear to be working.