Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) on Monday authorized deploying the state's National Guard after a weekend of violence in Atlanta that included the fatal shooting of an 8-year-old girl.
Kemp declared a state of emergency in Georgia by signing an executive order to allow as many as 1,000 National Guard troops to deploy to Atlanta. The governor said the declaration came after “weeks of dramatically increased violent crime and property destruction” and gunfire over the Fourth of July weekend, leading to five confirmed deaths.
“Peaceful protests were hijacked by criminals with a dangerous, destructive agenda,” Kemp said. “Now, innocent Georgians are being targeted, shot, and left for dead. This lawlessness must be stopped and order restored in our capital city.”
“Enough with the tough talk. We must protect the lives and livelihoods of all Georgians,” he added.
The troops will be sent to the state Capitol, the Georgia Department of Public Safety headquarters and the governor’s mansion.
Kemp’s executive order came after a series of shootings left two dozen people injured over the weekend. At least 60 people broke the windows at the Georgia State Patrol headquarters as well, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
Kemp had threatened to get involved on Sunday, saying, “This recent trend of lawlessness is outrageous & unacceptable.”
“Georgians, including those in uniform, need to be protected from crime & violence,” he tweeted. “While we stand ready to assist local leaders in restoring peace & maintaining order, we won’t hesitate to take action without them.”
This recent trend of lawlessness is outrageous & unacceptable. Georgians, including those in uniform, need to be protected from crime & violence. While we stand ready to assist local leaders in restoring peace & maintaining order, we won’t hesitate to take action without them. https://t.co/NTacEm4v7o— Governor Brian P. Kemp (@GovKemp) July 6, 2020
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D) called for the violence to end after an 8-year-old was fatally shot near the Wendy’s restaurant that was the site of the police killing of Rayshard Brooks in June.
"We are shooting each other up on our streets in this city. And you shot and killed a baby," Bottoms said during a Sunday press conference. "And there wasn’t one shooter. There were at least two shooters. An 8-year-old baby. We are doing each other more harm than any police officer on this force."
The Atlanta Police Department reported another fatal shooting of a 53-year-old man near that same Wendy’s on Sunday.
Protests erupted across the country after George Floyd, a Black man, died in police custody in Minneapolis in late May. Some of these demonstrations, including in Atlanta, turned violent as looting broke out, prompting Kemp to deploy the National Guard to enforce curfews.
Demonstrations picked up after Brooks was fatally shot by police, leading to the resignation of the police department’s chief and criminal charges being filed against two officers involved in Brooks’s arrest.
At least 93 people were shot between May 31 and June 27, nearly double the number of shootings in the same period in 2019.