Yesterday, on the 67th anniversary of the Moore's Ford Bridge Lynching, a group led by state Rep. Tyrone Brooks, D-Atlanta, gathered underneath the Eugene Talmadge statue at the Gold Dome to announce the 9th annual reenactment of the violent lynching, which takes place this Saturday in Monroe.
On July 25, 1946, a local white farmer named Loy Harrison bailed out Roger Malcolm at the Walton County Jail in Monroe. Malcolm, who was black, was in jail for stabbing a white farmer days earlier. With Harrison were Malcolm's wife, Dorothy, and George Dorsey and his wife, Mae Murray.
On the way back from the jail, the car was stopped by a mob near the Moore's Ford Bridge. All four African-Americans were taken into a field, tied up, and shot more then 60 times. Harrison, the only white person in the vehicle, was unharmed and later claimed he was unable to identify any of the killers. The story provoked national headlines, leading President Harry Truman to dispatch Federal Bureau of Investigation agents to the county.
The case has never been solved.
Atlanta Police have arrested one teen and are still looking for another after a string of three armed robberies last night around Grant Park.
The spree started around 10 p.m. when, police say, two black males parked a scooter near the intersections of Woodland and Eden avenues. The passenger hopped off the bike and, while pointing a silver revolver, approached a pedestrian and demanded his cell phone and cash.
He's watched a nearby neighborhood's resident announce on Facebook she was selling her home. He's seen kids raised from the area become suspects. And he's watched residents urge others to arm themselves. Last week, Faw says, someone even broke into his own home.
Faw and more than 300 residents and neighborhood leaders from eight surrounding communities - including Grant Park, East Atlanta, Peoplestown, Kirkwood, Ormewood Park, and Chosewood Park - gathered last night at the Zoo Atlanta auditorium to show solidarity, push police for answers, and brainstorm ways to reduce crime. The latest rash of incidents, they say, has spurred a call for more police patrols and additional measures to address the root causes of criminal behavior.
Faw told the crowd, which included Atlanta City Councilmembers who represent the area, DeKalb County commissioner Larry Johnson, and state Rep. Margaret Kaiser, D-Atlanta, that "we have to stop thinking the state gives a crap about us" and consider new ways to raise revenue to pay for police protection. His ideas ranged from increasing street traffic violations issued by police officers to placing tolls on roads leading into the city (local residents would be exempted). He also proposed ending summer vacations for K-12 students, which he says is an outdated policy.
Questions were also raised about whether cash from Atlanta Braves game parking revenues could be used to help fund security patrols. Others wondered how the city could target graffiti-covered areas, combat the rise of gangs, and crack down on - or demolish - vacant homes attracting criminal activity.
At one point, tensions flared as residents debated whether the people committing the crimes were simply "kids" or "criminals."
Law enforcement authorities from Atlanta, Decatur, and DeKalb County told the crowd they were collaborating to target the crimes, some of which could be linked. DeKalb County Police Chief Cedric Alexander told the crowd that, effective last night, 20 to 25 additional police officers would patrol the general area where the crimes were being committed, a surge the department plans to sustain "as long as we can." DeKalb Police recently arrested four suspects between the ages of 14 and 19, Alexander said, and uncovered evidence that could possibly link them to recent crimes.
Nearly a half-dozen robbers this morning stole an ATM machine from Sweet Auburn Curb Market, the historic food court and grocery home to establishments such as Bell Street Burritos, Grindhouse Killer Burgers, and Miss D's New Orleans Pralines and Popcorn.
According to an Atlanta Police report, the suspects "forcibly" drove a Dodge Caravan through the Edgewood Avenue market's main entrance around 4:55 a.m. Once inside, the video surveillance footage shows the vehicle repeatedly battering the ATM loose.
"About 6 males in total who participated in the incident," APD spokeswoman Kim Jones tells CL. "The camera footage showed the males dragging the ATM machine out of the business by the extension cord and placing it into the bed of a red pickup truck."
CBS Atlanta's Rebekka Schramm posted a photo this morning from one of the market's security cameras:
We've got the surveillance video of an elaborate smash-and-grab at the Sweet Auburn Curb Market. pic.twitter.com/lxSs7SbZkl
- Rebekka Schramm (@CBSSchramm) July 9, 2013
Jones says that all the businesses were closed when the robbery occurred and no occupants were present. At the moment, the suspects currently remain on the loose.
Despite needing thousands of dollars worth of repairs, Sweet Auburn Curb Market is actually open today - just don't use its front door. They've also shared a photo of the minivan inside the market and joked in a Facebook post: "Someone was so anxious to get some of Miss D's pralines, they couldn't wait for the market to open!"
According to APD, the unidentified victim was walking home from Mary's around 2 a.m. when he was approached near Glenwood and Blake avenues by three black males in their early 20s.
"One male was armed with an AK-47 style weapon, another had a semi-automatic handgun," according to a police statement about the incident.
The victim told police that the robbers told him to empty his pockets. After taking his cell phone, they ordered him to walk east on Glenwood Avenue and "not to turn around," preventing him from being able to determine whether they fled on foot or escaped in a vehicle. The victim wasn't injured in the crime.
The robbery follows several brazen crimes in East Atlanta and surrounding neighborhoods, including the high-profile killing of 33-year video game engineer Patrick Cotrona. APD, which believes some of the crimes are linked, and city officials promised to step up patrols in the area. Residents have also called for better lighting along neighborhood streets to deter crime.
Bob Jamerson, who was transported to Fulton County Jail following his arrest, faces two misdemeanor counts for simple assault and obstruction against an officer.
According to the APD's report, security guards told an off-duty APD officer, who at the time was working a shift for private security force Midtown Blue, that Baton Bob had caused daily disturbances in the area and had told him to leave the property. Baton Bob allegedly called the two security guards "bitches" and said "don't fuck with me, I'll fuck you up." Upon resisting the female APD officer's arrest, he reportedly called her a "black bitch" while repeatedly calling the two security guards "bitches."
"For them to call police to come to intervene was not necessary," said Jamerson, who posted a statement yesterday while waiting to be transported to jail. "So, out of it, because of my fury, the Atlanta police officer did not understand the elements of the situation, so he was trying to do his job, respectfully and arrested my ass!!!!!!!!!"
The off-duty APD officer noted in her report that Baton Bob repeatedly apologized after leaving the scene and said his aggression toward her was because of how he felt toward the security guards. Currently, his overall bond has been set at $4,000.
"On a personal note, this is a very unfortunate incident," Colonel Wayne Mock, Midtown Alliance's public safety director, told CL yesterday. "Mr. Jamerson has added to the unique character of Midtown for many years and has appeared at the Midtown Alliance Annual Meeting earlier this year."
We've reached out to Baton Bob, and we'll post an update if we hear back.
Atlanta Police told CL that Bob Jamerson was arrested after an alleged "verbal altercation" with a security officer at 1197 Peachtree Street. An off-duty APD officer, working a shift for Midtown Blue, the Midtown Alliance's private security detail, placed him in handcuffs in front of the Suntrust Tower near the intersection of Peachtree and 14th streets.
"[Atlanta Police] asked Mr. Jamerson to leave the property and Mr. Jamerson again refused and continued to be verbally abusive to security personnel," Colonel Wayne Mock, Midtown Alliance's public safety director. "At that point, Mr. Jamerson pushed Officer Davis and was placed under arrest and transported by APD."
Here's a quick photo, passed along to CL, of Baton Bob being placed into a Midtown Blue truck:
Baton Bob was arrested today near Peachtree and 14th in Midtown. Looking into it, but here's a photo from the scene. pic.twitter.com/D3VE2NA1QK
- Max Blau (@MaxBlau) June 26, 2013
And here's another photo from afar Baton Bob getting detained:
@ajc breaking news! Baton Bob detained by the police! pic.twitter.com/1ZrueVMZ3T
- Ben Martin (@Flenjamin) June 26, 2013
And one more of Baton Bob being escorted across the street:
Mean cop arresting Baton Bob #Midtown #Atlanta #BatonBob pic.twitter.com/EhobxaloMP
- Phillip Cole Swecker (@coleswecker) June 26, 2013
APD says Jamerson was charged with one count of simple assault and another count of obstruction against an officer. He had been transported to the Fulton County Jail.
Jamerson has been charged with one count of simple assault and another count of obstruction against an officer. APD spokesman Gregory Lyon tells CL he had been transported to the Fulton County Jail.
"On a personal note, this is a very unfortunate incident," Mock says. "Mr. Jamerson has added to the unique character of Midtown for many years and has appeared at the Midtown Alliance Annual Meeting earlier this year."
According to Project Q Atlanta, Baton wrote the following statement about arrest this afternoon:
First of all, the atl police officer that responded to the incident thru security has been very respectful and gracious to me even in handcuffs. So, the situation escalated from a complaint from a security officer in the area and for some reason she rolled up on me like she didn't know who I was and like I had not been there before. For them to call police to come to intervene was not necessary. So, out of it, because of my fury, the Atlanta police officer did not understand the elements of the situation, so he was trying to do his job, respectfully and arrested my ass!!!!!!!!! I'll be out tomorrow so look out for my show at 14th and Peachtree. So now I'm waiting to be transported so I can sign my own bond and get the hell out of here. I want to verify, that the Atlanta police was respectful to me considering the circumstances. See you when I see you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
NOTE: This story has been altered to reflect updates to the story.
Atlanta Police remain on the lookout for several thieves responsible for heisting nearly $1 million in Rolex watches from a Buckhead jewelry store.
According to an APD report, five to six African-American males entered the Mayors Jewelry Store inside Lenox Mall at around 6:30 p.m. last Friday night. Sales representative Lynda McKinnon offered her assistance to one of the men. Soon after, two others pulled out sledgehammers from under their shirts and cracked open a glass display case.
APD Spokesman Greg Lyon says the crooks snatched approximately 17 Rolex timepieces, which combined were worth more than $900,000. They've now released a video of the incident, which we've embedded above.
Those with information regarding the smash-and-grab robbery are encouraged to anonymously call the Crime Stoppers Atlanta hotline at 404-577-TIPS (8477) or text tips to CRIMES (274637). There's currently a reward for up to $2,000 provided that the tip leads to the arrest and indictment of the thieves in question.
The Fulton County Board of Commissioners yesterday voted to purchase $4.7 million worth of locks for the Fulton County Jail. The move follows its (slightly-delayed) decision last December to take on $5 million in debt to pay for the fixes. The move will mark the end of an era when prisoners could pick faulty cell-door locks, some of which were first installed when the jail was built in 1985.
"I am pleased that the Board has approved this important investment in the security of our jail," Chairman John Eaves said in a statement. "The jail locks are an important step in addressing the terms of the consent order, and in protecting the safety of jail employees, contractors, visitors, and the inmates themselves."
A federal judge six years ago ordered the county to address dangerous conditions at the Rice Street jail. The consent decree, which remains in effect, has forced major improvements costing the public more than $140 million. That included addressing its major overcrowding problem as well as replacing approximately 1,300 locks.
Eaves spokeswoman Bobbie Battista says the installation of the jail locks should begin in August and will take 270 days from the start date. "They can only do one pod at a time to accommodate moving inmates around," she tells CL.
The chairman recently told CL that the jail has made strides in its overcrowding issue - which has received additional attention after Mayor Kasim Reed fired shots at Fulton County's judicial system. Eaves says inmates are no longer outsourced to other correctional facilities in metro Atlanta. However, groups monitoring the jail's progress say women are still being forced to sleep on the floor because of a lack of beds. He said he's asked the jailer to consider reconfiguring the facility to free up more space.
The service, in turn, offers inmates the chance to focus on something else other than the daily anxieties of jail, giving them a sense of purpose during an otherwise dark time in life. The program, dubbed Canine Cellmates, pairs dogs with inmates over an eight-week period, after which the dogs are put up for adoption.
"I heard one of the guys from the jail say, 'as soon as they took those dogs, they stopped being inmates,'" said Angela Diffly, Canine CellMates' spokeswoman. "It humanized them. They walked differently, they looked differently, and they were all so excited to get their dogs. It was heartwarming to see it."
Each day, the 10 inmates in the program assemble in a room with their companions for a 90-minute training session lead by a certified trainer. After they're done learning in the classroom for the day, the inmates spend more time during the day with their dog, bonding and reinforcing the skills learned in class. At the end of the day, the dogs sleep in plastic kennels at the end of their partners' beds.
Similar programs, such as Gwinnett County Jail's Operation Second Chance, have been implemented across the country, but Canine CellMates is the first of its kind in Fulton County. The entire operation is privately funded with both corporate and private sponsorships.
Canine CellMates even offers the prospects of reducing crime. The companionship that the dogs offer seems to be so effective that it reduces the rates of inmates reoffending.
"Similar programs have shown a dramatic decrease in violent outbursts in prison and jail facilities, sometimes by as much as 50 percent," said Susan Jacobs-Meadows, the founding director of Canine CellMates, in a press release.
The Prison Pet Partnership Program of Washington State claims that no one in their program has reoffended in the past three years, while Puppies Behind Bars of Kanas reports similarly low rates of recidivism. Researchers at Kansas State University find a plausible link between such programs and a reduction in the rate of reoffending but that there isn't enough data to say for certain.
"Such programs appear to have the potential to break down barriers of fear and mistrust between staff and inmates and there is also some evidence, again anecdotal, that they reduce recidivism and behavioral infractions among inmates," the authors write. "Literally no systematic studies exist, however."
Despite some uncertainty about the program's effectiveness, Fulton County authorities don't have any reservations about the program.
"We are always looking for positive programs that benefit the inmates and best serve the overall community," said Fulton County Sheriff Ted Jackson. "This program will motivate the inmates to be a part of something bigger than themselves, and it will teach them responsibility and accountability for the dogs. We are optimistic about the affects this program will have as a whole."
And Canine CellMate's directors say that the animals are always completely safe.
"It's a wide-open room and the inmates are constantly supervised," Diffly told CL. "In the other programs, any times there's ever been an issue with the inmates showing any kind of cruelty to the dogs, the other inmates will correct that real quick, or else they'll make sure he's kicked out of the program. Only the best of the best inmates get even an opportunity to be in the program."
During the dogs' eight-week stay at the jail, Fulton County Animal Services officials work to find each dog a home once the program ends. When the program finishes its first cycle, the inmates will have to say goodbye to their canine companions.
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