Atlanta neighborhood wants to secede, citing recent killings


ATLANTA (NewsNation) — The killing of a grandmother in an Atlanta gated community is reigniting a push for neighborhoods to secede from the city and create their own cities.

Atlanta police arrested Antonio Brown, 23, who they say killed 77-year-old Eleanor “Ellen” Bowles Saturday night in her home in a gated community in the Buckhead neighborhood.

Police say Bowles walked in on her car being stolen from her attached garage. Authorities say they aren’t ruling out the possibility that others may have been involved.

The killing has called attention to public safety concerns in the community and the city.

Bill White, a volunteer chairman and CEO of the Buckhead City Committee, joined “Morning in America” to discuss the growing public safety concern in Buckhead and crime rates in Atlanta.

White blamed the city’s mayor, claiming Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens says crime is down even though the community does not believe him.

“It’s very disheartening to see a politician come into Buckhead for the second time in three weeks to say that crime is down in Buckhead,” White said. “How can you tell people in Buckhead crime is down, murder after murder after murder, in Buckhead?”

White was disappointed to find out that Brown, the suspect accused of killing Bowles, was out of jail despite having a long criminal rap sheet. To White’s surprise, Brown was caught robbing a liquor store near the murder scene, and it took Atlanta police over 25 minutes to respond to the call.

However, White does not blame the police for their delayed response. Instead, he blames the city and Dickens for not properly funding the police department.

“It’s the city and this mayor that are unable to keep Buckhead safe anymore. He voted to defund the police. So no cops want to come work for a city that isn’t going to back their cops,” White said.

White said that if Buckhead were to secede from Atlanta and became its own city, it would have three times the number of police officers.

“This murder could have been avoided,” White said.

According to White, the mayor isn’t a bad human being, but rather, he doesn’t have the political willpower to make the change to stop crime.

There is a bill heading to the Georgia State Legislature from Buckhead, hoping to allow the neighborhood to secede, White explained. He said his group fully expects that the legislature will pass the bill and that the community will be able to vote on it in the fall.

“We expect the vote to be successful, and on that day, we would be a new city,” White said. “We have a great plan to reduce taxes, improve public safety and make loving and funding our police No. 1 for public safety.”

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