On Friday night in Atlanta, a 27-year-old black man named Rayshard Brooks was shot and killed by Atlanta police in what mayor Keisha Bottoms has already called an unjustified use of deadly force. Brooks’s death, which comes after weeks of nationwide unrest sparked by the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, quickly led to protests — as well as the resignation of Atlanta police chief Erika Shields. And the officer who killed Brooks has been fired.
Below is everything we know about Brooks death and its aftermath in Atlanta.
Just after 10:30 p.m. on Friday night, two Atlanta police officers responded to a complaint that a man, later identified as 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks, was asleep in his car and apparently obstructing other vehicles in the parking lot of a Wendy’s restaurant on University Avenue in southwest Atlanta. According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigations, which is investigating the shooting, the officers gave Brooks a sobriety test, which he allegedly failed. The GBI says that when the officers then went to arrest Brooks, he “resisted and a struggle ensued,” prompting one of the officers to deploy a taser. Brooks was able to obtain the taser before trying to run away, according to the GBI, and then “officers pursued Brooks on foot and during the chase, Brooks turned and pointed the Taser at the officer. The officer fired his weapon, striking Brooks.”
Brooks was taken to the hospital, but died following surgery.
A cell phone video of the incident recorded by a bystander shows Brooks and the officers rolling on the ground before Brooks breaks free, stands up, and starts to run away. Gunshots can then be heard out of frame.
#BREAKING Large crowd gathering outside a Wendy’s in #Atlanta following an officer involved shooting. Police allegedly fatally shot an unarmed black man in the parking lot around 11:30pm. So far, they have only confirmed an officer-involved shooting. Few details. #AtlantaProtests pic.twitter.com/HHgi899Kj2— Eric Wasserman 🦆 "WASS" (@EricWasserman1) June 13, 2020
In another video, taken by a surveillance camera and released by the GBI on Saturday, Brooks can be seen running across the parking lot with the officers chasing him. Without stopping running, Brooks half turns around and points an object in his hand at the police officer closest to him, who then opens fire. Brooks is later seen lying on the ground.
GBI released video that shows the moment Rayshard Brooks was shot and killed by an Atlanta Police officer at a Wendys on University Ave last night. Police say Brooks had taken an officer's taser and pointed it at the officer as he ran. pic.twitter.com/1G8fn03gFV— Matt Johnson (@MattWSB) June 13, 2020
On Saturday, a lawyer representing Brooks’s family explained that that he was a father of four who had been celebrating his daughter’s eighth birthday party earlier Friday night.
Rayshard Brooks.— Kristen Clarke (@KristenClarkeJD) June 14, 2020
A 27 yr old father of 3 girls and 1 stepson. Was celebrating his daughter’s 8th birthday and was planning to take her skating.
His crime? Allegedly sleeping in his car in a Wendy’s parking lot in Atlanta. Shot 3 times in the back and killed. #RayshardBrooks pic.twitter.com/stKK0h2l2M
Neither of the officers have yet been identified.
Mayor Bottoms condemned the shooting, Atlanta’s police chief resigned, and the officer who shot Brooks was fired
On Saturday, Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms condemned the shooting and called for the officer responsible to be fired. “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,” Bottoms said. “I do not believe that this was a justified use of deadly force and have called for the immediate termination of the officer.”
On Saturday night, as protests raged outside the Wendys where Brooks was killed, the APD announced that the officer who shot him had been fired, and the other responding officer had been put on administrative leave.
Also on Saturday, Atlanta police chief Erika Shields offered Bottoms her resignation, which the mayor accepted. Shields, who drew praise two weeks ago for her quick condemnation of the Minneapolis police officers who killed George Floyd and her frank conversations with protesters, said she was stepping down “out of a deep and abiding love for this city and this department,” because “It is time for the city to move forward and build trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.”
Lawyers representing Brooks family have called for charges
On Saturday, an attorney representing Brooks’s family called for the officer to be prosecuted, per the Associated Press:
L. Chris Stewart, an attorney for Brooks’ family, said the officer who shot him should be charged for “an unjustified use of deadly force, which equals murder.”
“You can’t have it both ways in law enforcement,” Stewart said. “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.”
The GBI says it will hand over whatever it uncovers in its investigation of the shooting to Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard, who said Saturday that his office “has already launched an intense, independent investigation of the incident.”
Justin Miller, attorney for family of Rayshard Brooks: "We don't think these are one-offs. We know they're not. We are seeing them more and more. That's not because society is getting WORSE. It's just because technology is getting BETTER." pic.twitter.com/iJNxtKLc22— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) June 14, 2020
News Source: nymag.com
Photo Credit: Rayshard Brooks Photo: @KristenClarkeJD/Twitter