Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D) gave an impassioned speech about the riots that crippled the city on Friday. Bottoms scolded Atlantans, “If you care about this city then go home.”
In numerous cities across the country, protests calling for justice in the death of George Floyd deteriorated into full-scale riots. Atlanta was one of the first cities on Friday to see its citizens stage riots that were punctuated by businesses being looted, buildings being set on fire, and clashes with law enforcement.
On Friday night, Mayor Bottoms delivered a hot-blooded tongue-lashing to her constituents who were purposely trying to destroy parts of Atlanta.
“This is not a protest. This is not in the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr. This is chaos,” the Atlanta mayor proclaimed. “A protest has purpose. When Dr. King was assassinated, we didn’t do this to our city.”
“You are not honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement,” she added. “You’re not protesting anything running out with brown liquor in your hands, breaking windows in this city. When you burn down this city, you are burning down our community.”
“What I see happening on the street of Atlanta is not Atlanta. You are throwing knives at our police officers, you’re burning cars,” she said. “You have defaced the CNN building.” Rioters attacked and damaged CNN’s headquarters on Friday.
“This is not the legacy of civil rights in America, this is chaos, and we’re buying into it,” Bottoms continued. “This won’t change anything.”
“You are disgracing our city. You are disgracing the life of George Floyd and every other person who has been killed in this country,” she added. “We are better than this. We are better than this as a city, and we are better than this as a country.”
“We’re no longer talking about the murder of an innocent man,” Bottoms said. “We’re talking about how you’re burning police cars on the streets of Atlanta, Georgia. Go home!”
“So if you love this city — this city that has had a legacy of black mayors and black police chiefs and people who care about this city, where more than 50 percent of the business owners in metro Atlanta are minority business owners — if you care about this city, then go home,” Bottoms said. “If you want change in America, go and register to vote.”