Atlanta mayoral candidate and city councilman Antonio Brown is standing by his initial calls to defund police after several children stole his Mercedes in broad daylight on Wednesday, according to reports.
Councilman Antonio Brown, who voted in support of an ordinance to withhold $73 million from the budget of the Atlanta Police Department last year, was attending a ribbon-cutting ceremony in northeast Atlanta around noon when at least four kids jumped into his car and took off, FOX 5 of Atlanta reported.
But the incident has not changed the councilman’s outlook on police, according to The Independent.
Brown told reporters during a virtual Thursday press conference that no amount of additional policing would have prevented the car from being sold, according to the outlet.
“This was not a circumstance of a number of officers on the beat,” Brown told The Independent in response to a question about whether the theft highlights a need for more policing. “This was a circumstance of these kids operating within whatever they felt was necessary for their own survival, a situation of generational poverty and acting on this basis of survival.”
Antonio Brown attends Black Music and Entertainment Walk Of Fame Nominees Announcement Cocktail Party on February 18, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia.(Photo by Prince Williams/WireImage)
Brown did not immediately respond to an inquiry from Fox News.
Wednesday’s incident occurred amid a recent crime wave in Atlanta. Brown, who joined the city’s mayoral race less than three weeks ago, is running on a campaign of “reimagining public safety,” the paper reported.
Brown said the thieves jumped in his vehicle Wednesday after he got out to speak with community leader Ben Norman. He noted his white Mercedes-Benz coupe has keyless push-to-start ignition and he failed to realize it had been started, reports said.
The councilman described the kids as being between ages 6 and 12, FOX 5 reported.
“One kid was in the driver’s seat. Ben attempted to open the door to get him out of the car. He fought with Ben. I then engaged and tried to get him out of the car. The three other kids were trying to figure out how to get in the car or stay out of the car. He started to hit on the gas,” Brown said.
Brown added that he held on to the car in an attempt to stop them and was dragged about a block down the road before letting go.
He said that the child driving his vehicle “started to speed up” so fast that he would have died if he continued holding onto the car.
Brown doesn’t plan on filing charges against the kids, who he says acted out of desperation, Atlanta’s WSB-TV reported.
Fox News’ David Aaro contributed to this report.