The NAACP believes police are targeting African-Americans in the Warehouse District, and want immediate change.
NAACP and public officials held a Thursday morning press conference, urging Mayor Frank Jackson to get more involved after repeated racially-charged incidents in the Warehouse District. Officials say the problems are ongoing and seem to revolve around dress code issues.
The latest incident involves two African-American Morehouse College graduates, in the city to be trained as banking executives, who claim they were roughed up and arrested for no apparent reason outside a Warehouse District nightclub.
In late July, the NAACP went to the mayor with their concerns. The mayor listened and ordered training for bar staff and security, but after the latest incident, Councilman Zach Reed says this has gone too far and is demanding the mayor bring bar owners to city hall.
“What I’m calling on the mayor to do, and demanding the mayor to do, is to call each and every bar owner and restaurant owner into the red room. And demand that they come to the red room to say this will not be tolerated,” said Councilman Reed. “Because this type of attitude, the attitude of race, the attitude of bias, the attitude of elitism, it is going to bring down this economic engine,” said Councilman Reed.
Councilman Jeffrey Johnson urged bar owners to use private security in the clubs instead of hiring off-duty police officers, claiming a blurring of responsibility between what club owners expect and police taking matters into their own hands.