'It is our problem too': City council, mayor at odds over future of the Atlanta City Jail

Michael Bond is passionate about what he thinks should be done with the almost empty downtown city jail. 

The city councilman supports a request from Fulton County Sheriff Patrick Labat that he be allowed to lease several hundred beds because his facility is overcrowded. 

When Bond made a complaint about the mayor's stance to use the jail for another purpose, his tone turned sharp -- so much so, he apologized afterward to his colleagues on the public safety committee.

What did Bond say?

He called what he sees as inaction by Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms to help the sheriff an embarrassment.

"These people are sleeping on the floor," the councilman said. The jail has purchased plastic, body-sized containers similar to a doggie bed that one might buy for an animal.

"You got panties in a bunch because they think someone is trying to take their jail," Bond said, referring to the mayor.

From the mayor's camp, the councilman's complaint was labeled sexist.

Spokesperson Michael Smith wrote: 

"The misogynistic language used by council member Bond is disappointing and utterly distasteful. The mayor continues to work toward a reasonable agreement to assist Fulton County in the longstanding dysfunction of their corrections operations.

"The matter at hand requires serious deliberation -- not yet another sexist trope the council member has to offer."

At the meeting, a senior member of the council tried to redirect the heated words to how the whole jail controversy impacts citizens. 

"It is our problem too," said Cleta Winslow. "When police take people over there who are non-violent offenders, they don't take them or they can only keep them for a couple of hours. And then they get right back out and break into cars. People feel violated." 

Sheriff Labat said the solution he is seeking -- to lease 500 beds -- can be short-term if Ms. Bottoms would agree.

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