The racially charged death of a black man at the hands of white police in Atlanta has seen the head of the city’s police force hand in her resignation.
Protesters immediately took to the streets hours after the fatal shooting of a black man who attracted attention when he fell asleep in his car while waiting in the drive-thru line at a Wendy’s fast-food restaurant.
As night fell on the troubled city a fire broke out inside the restaurant after a day that saw the fast-food outlet besieged by protesters.
The flames spread quickly and by 9:30pm, the restaurant was fully ablaze.
— Tariq Nasheed 🇺🇸 (@tariqnasheed) June 14, 2020
Protest organizers encouraged people to go home, while officers arrested demonstrators blocking the interstate.But the crowd ignored the request and police responded with volleys of tear gas.
Meanwhile, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said on Sunday (Australian time) she accepted the resignation of police chief Erika Shields after the killing of Rayshard Brooks, 27, of Atlanta.
“I do not believe that this was a justified use of deadly force and have called for the immediate termination of the officer,” Bottoms said at a news conference.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms calls for the "immediate termination" of the police officer who shot and killed Rayshard Brooks last night. She also announced that Atlanta's Police, Chief Ericka Shields, voluntarily stepped down. pic.twitter.com/aN6c7tlEUh
— Ana Cabrera (@AnaCabrera) June 13, 2020
Atlanta’s police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Authorities have not yet released the names of the two officers involved in the shooting, both white.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said it was investigating the incident. Police said Brooks resisted arrest after failing a field sobriety test.
Protests began on Saturday afternoon and continued through the day.
The killing of Brooks came after weeks of intense racial equality protests across the US following the death of George Floyd, a black man killed in Minneapolis police custody when an officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
BREAKING: The Georgia Bureau of Investigation just confirmed in a press conference that Atlanta police officers shot Rayshard Brooks in the back as he was running away. https://t.co/SRuScwaII0
— Rebecca Kavanagh (@DrRJKavanagh) June 13, 2020
The Georgia investigators said video taken by an eyewitness was aiding their probe.
GBI director Vic Reynolds said during a news conference that video captured by cameras inside the Wendy’s restaurant appeared to show that Brooks had one of the officer’s Tasers in his hand when he fled.
“At that point, the Atlanta officer reaches down and retrieves his weapon from his holster, discharges it, strikes Mr Brooks there on the parking lot and he goes down,” Reynolds said.
In the eyewitness video, Brooks is first seen on the ground outside his car, struggling with two officers.
He appears to grab for the Taser of one officer, who was using the device on Brooks’ leg. After a few seconds, Brooks breaks free and begins to run.
One officer then uses a Taser on him. The pair then run out of the frame of the video.
Gun shots are heard along with someone yelling “I got him!” The video then shows Brooks apparently lifeless on the ground.
Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard, Jr., said in an emailed statement that his office “has already launched an intense, independent investigation of the incident” while it awaits the findings.”