Atlanta mayoral candidate hesitates on police profiling question - CBS46 News

Atlanta mayoral candidate hesitates on police profiling question

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ATLANTA (CBS46) -

All polls indicate that Mary Norwood has a commanding lead in the race for Atlanta mayor. But at the Georgia Stand Up candidates forum, she made what many believe was a serious strategic mistake when she hesitated in her answer about whether or not police profile minorities.

The original question was, "Do you believe that police target or profile black and brown males in the community?"

Norwood said she wanted to know what community, but in the back and forth, the clock was ticking. What took other candidates seconds to answer took Norwood a full 20 seconds to deliberate after it was clarified.

Candidate Keisha Lance Bottoms called Norwood's hesitation on the issue of racial profiling stunning.

"I'm having life-or-death conversations with my children over this, especially my 15-year-old son," says Bottoms. "I have four children, three of whom are African American boys. [The conversations are] over what you should do if you are stopped, and how you respond to police. This is a daily conversation. I'm not just having it, every parent that I know is having it."

Peter Aman has hit the issue of race head on in his bid for mayor, and has long accused Norwood of ducking forums and debates to avoid the tough issues.

Norwood's campaign says the question was unclear, but Aman disputes Norwood's excuse that the question was vague. 

"There are racism and racial issues both in the nation and in Atlanta, and there's profiling, both in the nation and in Atlanta, and anybody who's confused about that is not paying attention, is not thoughtful and is not fit to lead Atlanta," says Aman.

Norwood told CBS46 she had several appearances, but also had to attend the funeral of a friend. She said the voters know her record, and all she was trying to do was clarify the question.

Polls have shown that Norwood has more support in the black community than any candidate. If they can gain even a couple of percentage points, it could change somebody's fortunes.

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