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Buckhead City Committee announces intent to ban ‘water boy’ sales

Buckhead City Committee announces intent to ban 'water boy' sales
Buckhead City Committee announces intent to ban 'water boy' sales(CBS46)
Updated: Dec. 8, 2021 at 12:59 PM EST
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - UPDATE (CBS46) — A press conference was held on Thursday to announce that if Buckhead City becomes a reality, they intend to ban “water boys” within city limits.

At 11 a.m., the group’s leaders held a news conference alongside the mother of a teenage murder victim who supports a ban on the sale of water bottles at busy intersections.

Tomeka Pless’s son Jalanni was killed in June of 2020 after selling bottles of water on someone else’s turf.

“My then 18-year-old loss his life over $10 selling water,” Pless said. “it’s so wrong. Nobody should have to lose their life.”

Six months after her son’s death, Pless started an online petition to try to convince city of Atlanta leaders to ban “water boy” sales. The petition has gained more than 5,200 signatures.

Instead, city council members agreed to launch a study looking into a program that could employ the boys to bottle water and sell to companies.

In a virtual video addressing Atlanta crime earlier this year, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms advocated for the water-bottle-selling teens saying in part, “it’s about making much needed money to support themselves and sometimes their family.”

Activists and some leaders cite the bottle business as a means to avoid selling something much worse, like drugs, on Atlanta streets. But Pless believes a ban should be the first step.

“Taking cars, jumping on top of cars in the middle of traffic, chasing people down, it’s gotten out of hand,” she said, referring to recent problems associated with the water bottle sales

Other examples of the unruly incidents include a driver who was shot for refusing to buy water. While some point to the extreme behavior, others argue it doesn’t represent the majority of sellers.

In a press release, the Buckhead City Committee pledged to support Pless’s petition. The group also announced plans to fund mentoring and entrepreneurship programs for at-risk youth through an existing partnership with Prison Doc Inc. and founder Myron Fountaine, “The Prison Doctor.”

Pless supports the effort.

“There needs to be another initiative in place, something else we can do to help,” she said.