Two juvenile water-sellers were charged with firearms offenses and other violations in recent separate incidents, according to the Atlanta Police Department.
Buckhead Coalition President Jim Durrett had touted similar arrests of so-called water boys in his July 16 “State of Buckhead” address, where several audience members pushed for diverting the youths into entrepreneurial programs.
In a citywide phenomenon, many young people are re-selling bottled water at major intersections. Their work has been praised as entrepreneurship and criticized as dangerous, leading to disputes and protests about policing. Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms previously indicated a policy of tolerance while directing the youths to safer places to do business.
The two Buckhead arrests announced by APD occurred on July 15 and 16.
In the July 15 incident, a 15-year-old is charged with possession of a firearm by a minor; pedestrian in the roadway; and bribery.
APD said officers were flagged down around 3:30 p.m. at Peachtree and Piedmont roads by a person who said he had been assaulted by a group of juveniles selling water there. Officers detained the teenager and allegedly found a loaded handgun in a bag he was carrying. He is also accused of offering a $300 bribe to officers to let him go. The person who alerted police declined to press a charge of assault, APD said.
APD said that the Fulton County juvenile detention center would not accept the teenager, so his mother took custody of him.
APD said in a press release that the juvenile has a record of arrests but did not say whether they resulted in convictions.
In the July 16 incident, APD said, officers responded around 5:30 p.m. to the area of the 3350 Peachtree Road tower on a call of a juvenile carrying a handgun and threatening people as he sold water.
Officers arrested a 14-year-old who allegedly had a handgun in the waistband of his pants. He was charged with possession of a firearm by a minor; pedestrian in the roadway; possession of less than 1 ounce of marijuana; and littering.
Fulton County officials also would not accept the teenager, so an aunt took custody of him, according to APD.