Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms told Alexi McCammond in an interview for last night's "Axios on HBO" that she doesn't feel she or her four black children are safe from the possibility of dying at the hands of the police.
- Why it matters: Bottoms, a top possibility as running mate for Joe Biden, has been interviewed many times about her role as Atlanta mayor and her professional handling of the protests. This interview was different: She showed raw emotion as she confronted her personal fears of how police racism and brutality could threaten her own family.
The mayor paused and her voice broke as she talked about her son's purchase of a cap gun — which she didn't know about until he had bought it.
- "I just saw my 12-year-old who's running around the house with a cap gun, a black cap gun," Bottoms said. "And I thought about Tamir Rice," the 12-year-old African American shot to death in 2014 by a Cleveland police officer who saw him playing with a toy gun in a park.
When asked if she still lets her son play with toys like that, the mayor replied: "My son went into my Amazon account and he ordered it. And I didn't know he had ordered it."
- "You know, in the same way I saw my son with it," she continued, "did Tamir's mother know that perhaps he had ordered a cap gun on Amazon and was outside playing with it?"
Alexi's thought bubble: Watching Bottoms try to hold back tears as she openly talked, with remarkable calm, about fears of her son being killed by police solidified for me that this is so much bigger than any one person.
- It’s difficult not to be personally affected by that kind of authentic pain.
Bottoms said she has had to have difficult conversations with her oldest son about how to avoid trouble with the police. Normally, she tells him to "be confident and speak up for yourself, and don't ever shrink, and own who you are."
- But she has told him that if he encounters police: "You need to fade back. You need to not be a threat. ... You need to be compliant."
See a clip.