ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) -- The Atlanta Police Department is battling growing unrest in the City and plummeting morale. As a result, several officers have resigned in the past two weeks.
APD says a total of 8 officers have resigned since June 1, with anywhere between two and six resigning any other month.
Originally the Atlanta Police Foundation reported 19 officers has resigned in the last week. A number APD strongly refuted in a statement released to CBS46.
"There has been a claim circulating that 19 Atlanta Police Department officers resigned over the weekend. We have checked with the source of that claim and they are planning to issue a retraction of that statement because it is not correct and was not verified by APD. The information we have is that eight officers have resigned since June 1. Our personnel data indicates that we have had anywhere from two to six officers resign per month in 2020," read a statement released by the agency.
The news of resigning officers comes after Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms addressed the growing chaos that has erupted in the past month due to protests, violent demonstrations, the tasing of two college students by APD officers, and most recently the killing of Rayshard Brooks.
“We are now going into the third consecutive week of unbated protests in which officers have worked 12-hour shifts seven days per week. As you can imagine, their stress levels are exacerbated by physical and emotional exhaustion. We are grateful for the sacrifices they are making every day and will continue to support them while accelerating the programs under the Atlanta Police Foundation’s mission in order to address police reform and other issues the protests and their aftermath have illuminated,” said Dave Wilkinson, President & CEO of the Atlanta Police Foundation, in the original statement.
However by 9 p.m. Monday night, the foundation worked to clear up the misunderstanding.
"Earlier today, the Atlanta Police Foundation reported an inaccurate number of officer resignations within the Atlanta Police Department since the start of the social justice protests. Eight officers (8) have resigned since June 1. Due to a miscommunication we reported inaccurately that 19 officers had resigned. We apologize for the error."
During a press conference that afternoon, Mayor Bottoms said, "The [the] morale is bad right now. [There is] a lot of anger and frustration directed at our police officers."
Following the death of Brooks, a father of four who was shot twice in the back by a now fired APD officer, the department lost its police chief. Erika Shields has served as police chief for three years, though she'd been with the department since 1995.
She said her decision to step down was fueled by the community's need to trust its law enforcement agency.
"For more than two decades, I have served alongside some of the finest men and women in the Atlanta Police Department. Out of a deep and abiding love for this City and this department, I offered to step aside as police chief. APD has my full support, and Mayor Bottoms has my support on the future direction of this department," said Shields in Saturday. "I have faith in the Mayor, and it is time for the city to move forward and build trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve."