Atlanta police chief resigns
An Atlanta police officer was fired early Sunday following the fatal shooting of a black man, which triggered unrest and new waves of protests in the city. Rayshard Brooks, 27, was fatally shot by police at a Wendy’s drive-thru after officials said he resisted arrest and stole an officer’s Taser.
Protesters on Saturday set fire to the Wendy’s restaurant where Brooks was killed and shut down an interstate highway in both directions. At least 36 people were arrested, police said.The fired officer, Garrett Rolfe, was hired by the department in October 2013, a department spokesperson said. Devin Brosnan, who was hired in September 2018, was placed on administrative duty.Rolfe’s firing follows the resignation of the city’s police chief, Erika Shields. In a statement, Shields said: “I have faith in the mayor, and it is time for the city to move forward and build trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.”
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Police said Brooks fell asleep in the Wendy’s drive-thru on Friday night and had failed a sobriety test. When police tried to take him into custody, Brooks resisted and stole a Taser from an officer, they said. Brooks ran from the officers, and at one point, aimed the Taser at police before the officer fired his weapon, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said.”While there may be debate as to whether this was an appropriate use of deadly force, I firmly believe that there is a clear distinction between what you can do and what you should do,” Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said in a news conference. “I do not believe that this was a justified use of deadly force.”Brooks was taken to a local hospital where he died after surgery, officials said. One officer was treated for an injury and discharged from the hospital.
L. Chris Stewart, an attorney for Brooks’ family, said the officer who killed Brooks should be charged. “You can’t have it both ways in law enforcement,” Stewart told the Associated Press. “You can’t say a Taser is a nonlethal weapon but when an African American grabs it and runs with it, now it’s some kind of deadly, lethal weapon that calls for you to unload on somebody.”
A man walks by as a Wendy’s restaurant is on fire during protests on Saturday, June 13, 2020, where Rayshard Brooks was shot and killed by police Friday evening.
Brynn Anderson / AP
The shooting comes as anti-police brutality protests have swept the country in the wake of George Floyd’s death, a 46-year-old black man who died in the custody of Minneapolis police.The city of Atlanta was roiled by protests following Floyd’s death. Six officers were charged with assault and four were fired after video showed police pulling two college students out of their car during a demonstration on May 30. The officers used a stun gun on the driver and passenger. Footage of the incident was broadcast live by WGCL-TV.