Rising Democratic star Bottoms takes heat as Atlanta homicides soar


Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms is facing sharp criticism as her city faces its deadliest year in decades.

Three killings in less than 24 hours over the Christmas weekend boosted the number of homicides this year to 154, the highest since 1998, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Bottoms’ administration was already facing public criticism for an overall rise in violent crime.

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“It is obvious that the civilian authorities do not control the streets and cannot provide even a token feeling of safety beyond our front doors,” City Councilman Howard Shook said in a statement on Dec. 22, before the recent slayings.

“To the administration, I don’t want to hear the word ‘uptick,'” Shook said. “Stop minimizing our concerns by telling us that ‘crime is up everywhere.’ Spare us from the lie that the steady outflow of our officers isn’t as bad as it is. And please, not another throw-away press conference utterly devoid of game-changing action steps. It will take a lot to turn this around. But here, in descending order, are the three things we need to begin: 1). Leadership; 2). Some leadership; 3). Any leadership.”

Shook’s rebuke followed the stunning death of a 7-year-old girl who was shot in the head as she rode in a car during a shopping trip with her mother and aunt.

Investigators said it was stray bullet fired during an altercation between several men in the parking lot of a Saks Fifth Avenue store, the Journal-Constitution reported.

FILE – In this July 17, 2019, file photo, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms speaks during a Senate Democrats’ Special Committee on the Climate Crisis on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

This child remains in a hospital undergoing treatment. As of Saturday evening, no one had been charged.

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The latest string of homicides began when police discovered a body in a park at about 5 a.m. Friday. The victim appeared to have multiple stab wounds, the Journal-Constitution reported. Hours later, police responded to a home where a man with a gunshot wound was unconcsious. He later died at a hospital. Then, just after midnight, a 16-year-old girl was fatally shot during a dispute in a hotel room.

Addressing Shook’s criticism, Bottoms told the newspaper that many cities are grappling with an increase in violence crime and discussing it is “not an abdication of responsibility, but an acknowledgement of the widespread severity of this issue.”

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The mayor said she is open to ideas others may have to better address the problem in Atlanta.

“If there are solutions that we have not explored and enacted, I welcome the suggestions, as I am always open to making the city that I am raising my children in a safer place for us all,” she said.

Bottoms has been considered a rising star in the Democratic Party, with some pundits earlier this year calling her a possible pick for vice president.



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