Close on the heels of George Floyd killing, an African-American man was killed by Atlanta police in a struggle following a field sobriety test. 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks was shot after he snatched an officer’s taser and pointed it back at the officer while fleeing, according to reports.
A crowd of demonstrators gathered outside the Atlanta restaurant where Brooks was shot. Protesters on Saturday night set fire to a Wendy’s restaurant and blocked traffic on a nearby highway.
Atlanta’s police chief has resigned after the incident. Police Chief Erika Shields stepped down after the killing sparked a new wave of protests in Atlanta after turbulent demonstrations that followed the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis had simmered down.
Georgia Bureau of Investigation Director Vic Reynolds said the Friday night shooting outside a Wendy’s restaurant was captured by a security camera as well as by witnesses’ cellphones. Reynolds said the GBI would share the security camera footage with the public. “In a circumstance like this where an officer is involved in the use of deadly force, the public has a right to know what happened,” Reynolds told a news conference on a day, reported news agency AP, when protesters gathered at the scene of the shooting and in other areas of Atlanta.
Atlanta police were called to the restaurant on a complaint that a man was sleeping in a car blocking the drive-thru lane as customers waited in line, the GBI said. The shooting came at a time of heightened tension over police brutality and calls for reforms across the US following the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Atlanta was among US cities where large crowds of protesters took to the streets.
Gerald Griggs, an attorney and a vice president of Atlanta’s NAACP chapter, said that eventhough Brooks struggled with officers, Griggs said, they could have used non-lethal force to take him down. Reynolds said his agents worked through the night interviewing witnesses and reviewing video. He said their findings show that Brooks tried to fight off two officers when they tried to arrest him and at one point managed to take a taser away from one of them.