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Georgia Governor Calls Up National Guard, Declares State Of Emergency Due To Violence

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is activating up to 1,000 National Guard troops after a spate of shootings and protests in Atlanta over the weekend. Five people died, including an 8-year-old girl, and at least 30 people were injured. The Republican governor issued an executive order Monday that would send the National Guard to protect the state Capitol, the Governor's Mansion and the Department of Public Safety's headquarters, where close to 100 demonstrators set fire to part of the building early Sunday morning.

In the order, Kemp slammed Atlanta officials who "have failed to quell ongoing violence" over an especially turbulent few months that have seen the resignation of the police chief, increased sickouts of officers and two officers charged in connection with the killing of a Black man.

"Peaceful protests were hijacked by criminals with a dangerous, destructive agenda," Kemp said. "Now, innocent Georgians are being targeted, shot and left for dead. ... Enough with the tough talk — we must protect the lives and livelihoods of all Georgians."

The Atlanta Police Department is offering a reward in the killing of 8-year-old Secoriea Turner, who was shot Saturday night near the Wendy's where Rayshard Brooks was killed by a white police officer on June 12. Sunday evening, a visibly frustrated Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms decried the violence that rocked the city over the Fourth of July weekend, asking for information about a group of armed individuals who blocked the road before firing into the car and striking Secoriea.

"Enough is enough," Bottoms said. "We have talked about this movement that is happening across America at this moment in time when we have the ears and the interest of people across this country and across this globe who are saying they want to see change."

Less than 24 hours later, a 53-year-old man was also killed near where Secoriea died.

Bottoms, who is considered to be a contender as former Vice President Joe Biden's running mate in this year's presidential election, received praise for her earlier handling of protests following the death of George Floyd but now faces criticism for the increase in crime.

On Monday, Atlanta police erected concrete barriers around the burned-out restaurant and cleared out protesters and items left at a makeshift memorial.

Copyright 2020 Georgia Public Broadcasting

Stephen Fowler is the Producer/Back-Up Host for All Things Considered and a creative storyteller hailing from McDonough, Georgia. He graduated from Emory University with a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies. The program combined the best parts of journalism, marketing, digital media and music into a thesis on the rise of the internet rapper via the intersectionality of social media and hip-hop. He served as the first-ever Executive Digital Editor of The Emory Wheel, where he helped lead the paper into a modern digital era.
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