Flames and protests raged into Sunday morning in Atlanta over the death of a black man who was killed Friday night by Atlanta police.
The Wendy’s restaurant where the shooting took place was torched Saturday, and then set fire to again Sunday .
The protests came despite Atlanta’s decision to fire one of the police officers involved in the shooting and the resignation of Police Chief Erika Shields over the incident.
— Fabiolucv (@Fabiolucv) June 14, 2020
— Jim Zorn (@PhotoZorn_FOX5) June 14, 2020
The chain of events that led to Atlanta becoming a city on edge began Friday, when police found Rayshard Brooks, 27, asleep in his car, blocking the drive-thru of a Wendy’s restaurant, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
As shown by bodycam footage from one officer released Saturday, police first questioned Brooks. What began as a conversation turned into a struggle when officers put their hands on Brooks to arrest him. The video released has scenes and language that may be disturbing.
During the struggle, police allege Brooks grabbed a stun gun from one of the arresting officers, the Journal-Constitution reported. The actual shooting took place outside the camera range of the footage released.
Protesters began forming Saturday under the watchful eye of police who did not intervene other than to try to seal off the protest area and prevent marchers from blocking interstate highways in the area, WAGA-TV reported.
At about 9:30, protesters set fire to the Wendy’s where the incident happened, after smashing its windows, the Journal-Constitution reported.
According to WSB-TV, there was intermittent looting amid the protests. It was a new round of upheaval two weeks after the city was wracked by violence amid riots across the country that followed the death of George Floyd, a Minnesota man who died in police custody May 25.
With police forming a loose cordon around the area, protesters remained through the night. The Wendy’s was burning again at about 4 a.m. Sunday.
The Wendy’s on University Ave. where #RayshardBrooks was shot and killed was set on fire again at around 4:00 this morning. Atlanta Fire Department is working to put out the flames. @cbs46 pic.twitter.com/NMoA3Kvo7j
— Barmel Lyons CBS46 (@BarmelLyonsTV) June 14, 2020
Vic Reynolds, director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, spoke about Brooks and the Taser on Saturday.
Surveillance video from the restaurant showed “Brooks running away and then turn and appear to fire the Taser at the pursuing officers,” the Journal-Constitution reported.
The deadly shooting took place immediately after that, Reynolds said.
“And as he turned it over, you’ll be able to see on the video the Atlanta officer, literally reach down to get his service weapon and as he gets his weapon, Mr. Brooks begins turning his body away from him, I presume to flee. And, it looks like that’s when the discharge … of the weapon goes off,” Reynolds said, according to the Journal-Constitution. “It’s just like that, literally.”
Reynolds urged the public not to judge based on one video clip.
“We realize there’s a tremendous amount of emotion and passion involved in these cases, and certainly in the way the environment is now is only enhanced,” Reynolds said. “I would just humbly and respectfully ask the public to wait a minute.”
Earlier Saturday, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said the officer who shot Brooks should be fired.
“While there may be debate over 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,” Bottoms said. “I do not believe this was a justified use of deadly force and have called for the immediate termination of the officer.”
Early Sunday, WSB reported that Officer Garrett Rolfe had been fired in connection with the shooting and that another officer at the scene, Devin Bronsan, is on administrative duty.
Bottoms announced that Shields was resigning as chief but would remain with the department.
“What has become abundantly clear in the city of Atlanta is that while we have a police force full of men and women who work alongside our communities with honor, respect and dignity, there has been a disconnect with what our expectations are and should be as it relates to interactions with our officers and the communities in which they are entrusted to protect,” Bottoms said.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.