By Tanni Deb – The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
J.D. Capelouto – The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
(CNT) City News And Talk #atlanta-ga
Atlanta police are requesting the public’s help in identifying four men they say were street racing and caused Northside Drive near I-75 to be shut down last weekend.
“They blocked the ability of a marked patrol unit to interdict the illegal street racing going on and threw a firework towards his vehicle,” Atlanta police spokesman Officer Anthony Grant said in a news release. “We aim to stop this illegal and disruptive activity and hold accountable those who participate in this dangerous behavior and bring them to justice.”
Street racing, which usually involves individuals driving in tight circles on a public road, has become a safety concern in Atlanta, according to police Sgt. John Chafee. He said the offenses can result in a $1,000 fine and six months in jail.
In early October, a temporary order from Atlanta’s chief municipal judge required that those who were arrested on charges connected to street racing had to appear before a judge within 24 to 48 hours to be eligible for a bond. The judge could also place special conditions on that bond. Previously, offenders were allowed to immediately bond out of jail after they were arrested.
Some street racing enthusiasts and activists are pushing back on this proposed legislation, which may become permanent. The ordinance, sponsored by Councilman Michael Julian Bond, would declare that racing, laying drag and reckless driving are violent offenses, and that suspected street racing offenders may have to pay cash bond to get out of jail.
“In the midst of a pandemic, we should be doing everything to keep people out of jail and the city council should be prioritizing its work around addressing real challenges like housing, health and employment, not sensationalizing car enthusiasts events to score political points with Buckhead. This issue doesn’t require filling our jails with nonviolent people; it requires for us to work together to build public safety,” Devin Barrington-Ward, a community organizer with Movement 4 Black Lives Atlanta, said in a statement.
According to Chafee, Atlanta police have arrested about 500 people connected to street racing in 2020. However, police said many of those cases haven’t moved forward because the Atlanta Municipal Court is closed due to the pandemic. Chafee said the court plans to reopen Monday.
Authorities are asking anyone with information about the four men in the photo to call 404-209-5250. Tipsters can remain anonymous by contacting Crime Stoppers Atlanta at 404-577-8477, texting information to 274637 or visiting the Crime Stoppers website.