Atlanta Court Denies Vendors’ Motion for Contempt
Arlington, Va.—Today, Judge Shawn Ellen LaGrua of the Fulton County Superior Court denied Stanley Hambrick’s request that Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and Police Chief George Turner be found guilty of criminal contempt for flagrantly ignoring an October 2013 order mandating that they allow street vendors to return to work. The court also denied Hambrick’s request that he and Atlanta’s other vendors be granted vending permits to operate next year, permits that the mayor and police chief illegally failed to issue to them despite the court’s earlier order.
“For almost an entire month Mayor Reed flouted the court’s authority by ignoring its ruling until he could strong-arm a new vending law through the city council,” said attorney Robert Frommer of the Institute for Justice, which represents the vendors. “This is lawlessness, pure and simple, and the Institute for Justice will take the fight for Atlanta’s vendors and the rule of law to the Georgia Supreme Court.”
The vendors battle with the city began in 2009, when then-Mayor Shirley Franklin handed over all street vending in Atlanta to a multi-billion-dollar Chicago company, General Growth Properties. Atlanta vendors Stanley Hambrick and Larry Miller joined with the Institute for Justice and filed suit to strike down the vending scheme, which Judge LaGrua did in December 2012. But rather than accept that ruling, Mayor Reed illegally shut down all street vending citywide. Reed’s actions devastated Atlanta’s vendors, many of whom have struggled to put food on their tables for almost an entire year.
“There is no more sacred American right than the right to earn an honest living,” said Frommer. “And the Institute for Justice will restore that right to Atlanta vendors no matter how many court rulings it takes.”