ATLANTA - The Atlanta Police Department says it is "experiencing a higher than usual number of call outs with the incoming shift" on Wednesday. The call outs follow the Fulton County District Attorney’s decision on charges against an ex-officer and current officer in the shooting death of Rayshard Brooks.
“We are getting calls now that two zones are looking to walk out,” Vince Champion, International Brotherhood of Police Officers.
FOX 5 News received several tips that officers were walking off the job en masse, something Atlanta police were quick to correct. A spokesperson told FOX 5 a few officers have gone home, but the manpower has not been greatly impacted. The department stressed officers are still on patrol and their call sheets show officers are still answering calls at an acceptable level.
A statement sent to FOX 5 Wednesday evening reads:
"Earlier suggestions that multiple officers from each zone had walked off the job were inaccurate. However, department is experiencing a higher than usual number of call outs with the incoming shift. We have enough resources to maintain operations and remain able to respond to incidents throughout the city."
The Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard, during a press conference Wednesday afternoon, said Officer Garrett Rolfe and Officer Devin Brosnan would be charged in connection to 27-year-old Brooks being shot and killed on the night of June 12 at the Wendy's restaurant along University Avenue in southeast Atlanta.
Officer Rolfe faces 11 charges, including felony murder, multiple counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, first-degree criminal damage to property, and two counts of violating of his oath as a public officer while Officer Brosnan has been charged with a count of aggravated assault and two counts of violating his oath of office.
"I'm not gonna make an assumption based on a video. I know nothing about. I've been a cop over 30-years. We go where the evidence leads us. Looking at videos and not knowing the whole thing - I don’t have an opinion," said Champion, responding to the charges.
This comes a day after claims were circulated up to 20 officers had resigned within the last 10 days, a claim that had to be retracted by at least one reputable source. The Atlanta Police Department said the attrition rate right now is only slightly higher than in previous months. A spokesperson said in a typical month so far this year, they have seen between two and six officers resign. Within the first half of June, the department said they saw eight.
Immedietly following Brooks' death, then Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields resigned.
"For more than two decades, I have served alongside some of the finest women and men in the Atlanta Police Department. Out of a deep and abiding love for this City and this department, I offered to step aside as police chief," Sheilds said in a statement to FOX 5. "APD has my full support, and Mayor Bottoms has my support on the future direction of this department. I have faith in the Mayor, and it is time for the city to move forward and build trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve."
Earlier this week, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms acknowledged the Brooks case along with the recent protests and the general public tone towards law enforcement has been hard on officers.
"The morale is bad right now,” the mayor said during a press conference Monday discussing police policy reforms. “My understanding is it is really bad.”
“The morale is terrible,” said Champion. "It's the worse day in law enforcement in the City of Atlanta that's ever been."