Over the last week or so the internet has become enthralled with the “Metro Mall Cop” videos being shown on WorldStar.
As wild as the videos are, the craziest thing about them is that about 2 out of 10 Atlantans actually know where that place is. Pretty, much you’d have to be a certain type of cat to know that the Metro Mall exist, or have any business being in there to begin with.
The Metro Mall is a spot that is smack dab in the middle of Downtown Atlanta. The word “mall” is used loosely though. It’s really more of a flea market if anything. I used to go down there around 10-12 years ago to get the latest hood t-shirts, mixtapes or those red/black/green wristbands when they were in style. Other folks would go there to get grills or to get their J’s or sneakers customized or their cell phones fixed or jailbroke.
When people hear “downtown” they get it confused with “midtown.” There is a huge difference. Downtown is the area that city government hasn’t quite decided what to do with yet. Or depending on who you ask, they haven’t figured out how to sweep out the people already down there so they can convince retailers and investors to come in. In the process, it has become very trapped out over the last 15 years.
But back to talking about the people who would know about the Metro Mall. The first type of person that would be is one who rides MARTA. I’m driving now, but for most of my teenage and for a great deal of my adult life, I’ve been on MARTA shawty. It got me where I needed to be be and I never minded using it…unlike so many Atlantans that are either afraid or think they are too good for it. People have reps and images to uphold, I guess. But yeah, the Metro Mall is right next to Five Points MARTA station.
Now, for those of you saying “hey, I’ve been to Five Points MARTA station, and never even noticed this place”…that’s probably because you aren’t the second type of person you need to be to know this place exist. Which is, the type of person that not only rides MARTA, but rides the MARTA bus.
People catch the MARTA train and shuttles to Hawks/Falcons/Braves games all the time. Some may even use it to go the Justin Bieber or Beyonce concerts when they come to town. To avoid paying for parking, a lot of people will catch the train to the airport too. But, I’m betting money that none of these folks are catching an actual BUS. See, catching the MARTA train is one thing, riding that bus is an entirely different monster.
Over the last 2-3 years, I’d been catching the Number 1 bus to get back and forth from home to Five Points when I needed to get somewhere. Most people who catch that Number 1 simply walk to the left to get into the station. Some people walk to the right to connect to another bus or venture into downtown/Underground Atlanta. If you were to walk to the right, you would see the Metro Mall. Most people don’t walk down there. One, because beggars are always begging. Two, trappers are always trapping. If you are neither one of those, you really don’t have much of a reason to be down there. Hell, I don’t dress the same way I used to dress 10-12 years ago and I get most of my mixtapes off the internet now, so I have no business being down there. The only time I even find myself walking past it is if I’m headed to Peters Street. If you feel you belong down there, that’s on you.
The third type of person you’d have to be is one of the types you’ve seen in the videos. If you don’t hang around the area or have any business down there, then you’d know absolutely nothing about the Metro Mall and the shenanigans that happen on the daily.
Which brings me to my last point…
Peep how these videos are being released in January/February. Nobody is wearing a jacket outside. Meaning that the footage is old.
Peep how the videos are being presented as somewhat of a series also.
And remember how I was saying that the “Metro Mall” sits in an area that the City of Atlanta wants to change, but haven’t figured out how to yet.
Simply put, I think all of this is a ploy leading to the city finally having a reason (or giving themselves a reason) to come through with some Raid(s) and sweep out the “vermin” that is halting efforts to change downtown Atlanta.
It’s kind of like that last verse on The Coup’s “Fat Cats, Bigga Fish”…
In case you’ve never heard this masterpiece, in the song Boots Riley raps from the perspective a low-end street hustler who winds up sneaking into a private dinner for business owners and politicians. Him and his partner go in there to steal cash from rich people’s wallets and purses, thinking they are getting over. But then he winds up eavesdropping on a conversation the mayor is having with a corporation where they say:
“you know, we got a process like Ice T’s hair
We put up the funds for your election campaign
And, oh, um, waiter can you bring the champagne?
Our real estate firm says opportunity’s arousing
To make some condos out of low-income housing
Immediately, we need some media heat
To say that gangs run the street and then we bring in the police fleet!
Harass and beat everybody til they look inebriated
When we buy the land, motherfuckas will appreciate it
Don’t worry about the Urban League or Jesse Jackson
My man that owns Marlboro donated a fat sum”
That’s when I stepped back some to contemplate what few know
Sat down, wrestled with my thoughts like a sumo
Ain’t no one player that could beat this lunacy
Ain’t no hustler on the street could do a whole community
This is how deep shit can get
It reads “macaroni” on my birth certificate
“Puddin’-Tane” is my middle name, but I can’t hang
I’m getting hustled only knowing half the game
If you don’t think that’s what’s happening, the Metro Mall Cop is named Darrien Long and he was just on Channel 2 news pretty much saying the same things.
I’m not sure how much Mr. Long is being paid to put up these videos, but there has to be some monetary motivation to put these videos up of him “cleaning up the community.” It should also be very obvious that the people who patron the Metro Mall probably don’t resemble the ones looking to come in a “change” or capitalize off those changes. Just like when the Olympics came and the mid-2000s condo/mixed-use community boom after it, poor people are about to be swept out and under the rug (Clayton County).
And like I said, you can ask somebody that has been living here all of their life, and 8 times out of 10, they probably wouldn’t know what or where a Metro Mall is. Which also makes one wonder how much of a “problem” the place really is. If nobody knows (notice I said “knows” not “care”) about a place that is supposed to be so dangerous, who exactly is it a danger to? As you can see in the video, the cop clearly isn’t trying to make the Metro Mall safer for people who go there regularly.
Now, should we feel “sorry” for loud-mouthed women who get tazed infront of their children? Should we feel “sorry” for dudes trapping outside of a MetroPCS store? I’m not absolutely sure. But, what we should be aware of is that not everyone is welcome in certain parts of Atlanta anymore. Downtown and Boulevard being two of them in particular. And I’m not only talking about “ghetto” people. I’m talking about small business owners who are running legitimate operations that serve the community in these areas. I’m talking about people who live in these communities and don’t contribute to their downfalls. They stand just as much, if not more, to lose when the powers that be decide to come through and make room for fatter cats and bigger fish.
I guess the most I can do at this point is encourage anyone that stands to be effected is to get in where you fit in…
UPDATE: Supporters of Officer Long have raised $22k to get him some “better gear”