During today's news conference at City Hall, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms did not shy away from speaking out against the challenges she has faced during her mayoral term.
"I never anticipated a social justice movement. I never anticipated a pandemic. I knew there was a mad man in the White House, but I didn’t know what it would feel like to lead under those circumstances," said Bottoms.
The Atlanta mayor has come under renewed scrutiny this week after the Atlanta Civil Service Board reinstated Atlanta Police Officer Garrett Rolfe, currently facing murder charges in the death of Rayshard Brooks.
The shooting led to days of unrest in the city last summer. Mayor Bottoms announced Rolfe's firing shortly after Brooks' death.
"Our position has been steadfast, that we followed the procedures that needed to be followed under those emergency circumstances. The board disagreed which was their right to disagree," she said.
Bottoms said she's consulting with her legal team regarding an appeal to the board.
"I respect our officers, but you can hold them accountable and also be respectful of the job that they do in the way that they put themselves in harm's way each and every day," she said.
The Atlanta mayor vowed to continue championing housing and criminal justice reforms to make the city better before she leaves office.
"We are facing a spike in crime, that I will continue to do everything I can do alongside [Atlanta Police] Chief Bryant, and the other men and women of this city to make sure that this city is safe. And I'm doing that, not because I'm mayor but, because I'm a mother in this city."
Bottoms also made clear she did not join President Biden's Cabinet because she wanted to remain committed to her term as mayor. She praised his continued support.
"Being Mayor with President Biden in the White House has made a world of difference. The ability to pick up the phone and have someone that you can call with an expectation that they will help you and not harm you. "
Bottoms ends her term in January 2022.