Demonstrators support controversial roadside water sales in Atlanta
ATLANTA - Protestors sold bottled water at an Atlanta intersection in support of teens who were recently detained by police while doing the exact same thing.
Joshua Dixon, 19, was one of the young men police confronted that day. He returned to the intersection of MLK Jr. Drive and Westlake Avenue Wednesday joined by outraged supporters.
Former Atlanta City Councilman and community activist Derrick Boazman organized Wednesday's protest.
Boazman told FOX 5's Deidra Dukes "On the one hand, you say, ‘Well, we want to help them,’ but on the other hand, you give the police the directive to go pick them up. Hell no, that's not going to work."
Boazman lashed out at Atlanta police, city leaders, and community members who complain the teens are aggressive, dart in and out of traffic, and put themselves and motorists at risk.
"The trauma we see where the police over police our community very well could've ended in a whole different kind of tragedy, and we are not willing to allow that to happen," Boazman said.
Atlanta City Councilwoman Marci Collier Overstreet responded to the criticism in a written statement, stressing that she never ever want any youth arrested for selling water and that there is a need to help the community by helping these youth saying quote:
"Our communities are very divided on this issue because It’s true that they are currently breaking the law but, it is also true that they need opportunities to better understand how to channel their entrepreneurial spirits...I foresee establishing some type of “Rules of Engagement “ for the vendors so that our elderly drivers aren’t startled by taps on the window or vendors darting in the streets. I also envision some type of city offered entrepreneurial workshop and partnership with Work Source."
Walter Jordan, a concerned citizen, went looking for Joshua Dixon after hearing what happened.
"I jumped in my car and came and met with him on yesterday, bought everything from his stand called one of my clients, and got him a job as well," he said.
Jordan's client offered Dixon a job at one of his Atlanta restaurants. The young man is overwhelmed by the show of support.
"It made me feel good. I didn't know I had this much support through the city. I didn't know people really cared,” the young man responded.
Boazman is calling on city leaders and community members to follow Jordan's lead and help to find jobs for area teens.