Atlanta City Councilman Antonio Brown, a mayoral candidate who voted to defund the local police last year, said he was forced to wait nearly an hour for police assistance Wednesday after a group of youths stole his car.
Mr. Brown told WSB-TV he was on hold with 911 for five full minutes before he was able to tell them he was the victim of a car theft following a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a Dunkin’ and Baskin-Robbins combination store in Atlanta’s Dixie Hills neighborhood.
Mr. Brown said he was outside speaking with a business owner when four kids ranging from ages 7 to 11 got into his Mercedes parked just a few feet away. He said he tried to stop the kids from driving away, but they dragged him for about half a block before he let go.
“He started to speed up, and I knew if I had not let go, I could have killed myself because he was going so fast,” the councilman said. “I would start to tumble, and I didn’t want to hurt him.”
Mr. Brown said it took police 45 minutes to arrive because his call was incorrectly labeled a low-priority dispatch.
He said he won’t file charges against the suspects, who are still being sought.
“This is a generational poverty issue,” Mr. Brown told WSB-TV. “These kids, it’s 12:30 in the afternoon. Why aren’t they in school? Why aren’t we enforcing systems to ensure that if they are not in school, they’re in recreational centers?”
Police said they are still working to identify the thieves and locate the victim’s vehicle.
Mr. Brown, who is running on a campaign of “reimagining public safety,” is currently under indictment on several federal fraud charges, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
He was among the seven council members who voted last June to withhold $73 million of the police budget until Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms drafted a plan to reform the department, the Journal-Constitution reported. The ordinance was narrowly voted down.