Atlanta mayor vetoes ‘8 Can’t Wait’ police reforms

July 15, 2020
1 min read
Atlanta mayor vetoes '8 Can't Wait' police reforms
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms

ATLANTA — Last week, the Atlanta City Council passed a use of force measure commonly known as the ‘8 Can’t Wait’ platform. It includes such reforms as banning chokeholds, a warning before shooting and exhausting all alternatives before shooting. This week, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms vetoed that measure.

The mayor’s veto was not out of a fundamental disagreement with the reforms, but she cited concerns of conflicts with the state constitution.

“As the City evaluates and implements use of force reform, we must do so in a deliberate manner devoid of constitutional controversy,” Bottoms said. “This Administration has taken a series of swift yet thoughtful actions to modernize our law enforcement policies and procedures. This veto is not against the spirit of the Ordinance, but rather a needed measure to prevent the City from taking actions that are already underway and enacting laws that are subject to unnecessary legal challenge.”

At issue is the fact that the measures were adopted by the city council in the form of an ordinance, which could pit the legislative branch of city government’s reforms against the executive branch’s police reforms. The mayor’s office indicated that a resolution would have been a more proper format.

The mayor is urging the council to sustain her veto.

The “8 Can’t Wait” platform is part of Campaign Zero, a police reform initiative launched in 2015. The reforms in the legislation aim to improve community interactions with the police and reduce the number of violent encounters through the following principles: 

• Banning chokeholds and strangleholds
• Requiring de-escalation strategies
• Requiring a warning before shooting
• Exhausting all alternatives before shooting
• Duty to intervene (from other officers)
• Banning shooting at moving vehicles
• Requiring use of force continuum
• Requiring comprehensive reporting involving use of force against civilians.

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