In a Tuesday town hall in Atlanta, Mayor Kasim Reed and Black Lives Matter activist Mary Hooks get into a heated discussion about the conditions of Black people in the city after a long string of BLM protests.
Atlanta’s WSB-TV hosted the “Atlanta Unite” town hall to discuss some of the grievances of the city’s BLM off-shoot with members of the community.
In the 12-minute exchange, Hooks condemns the mayor for suggesting that more police in Black communities could solve issues.
“Yes, we need police, but we need a progressive-thinking mayor that says that the only ammunition we have to deal with the issues and violence is to [not] have more police to allow for virtual rehab,” Hooks explains. “… we [should] not be profiting off the lives of our poor people through the municipal courts and placing them on probation — that is what needs to change.”
Hooks continues to say that arresting Black people for marijuana charges is not proportional to that of whites and that it financially binds those already struggling.
Atlanta’s mayor responds that he has helped the homeless by reducing the homelessness rate by half since taking office. Reed also says that reducing the police would be a ridiculous idea during times of constant terrorism.
He goes on to say that as mayor, he has to deal with the possibility of cop shootings similar to those in Dallas and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Reed defends his record, stating that he has directed the city toward recovery since being elected.
After reciting his resume, he urges Hooks to know what she is talking about before criticizing him.
“When I was elected mayor of Atlanta, unemployment in the city and in the region was in excess of 10 percent,” Reed explains. “The number today is below 5.6 percent.”