ATLANTA — The city too busy to hate was rocked Saturday by news that an Atlanta Police Officer shot and killed a 23-year-old black man in the parking lot of a Wendy’s Friday night.
The response to the shooting has been swift. Protesters have taken to the Interstates, the police chief has resigned, the mayor has called for the firing of the officer involved, and the shooting has been condemned by city officials.
On Friday, June 12, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation was requested by the Atlanta Police Department to investigate an officer involved shooting.
According to the GBI,. preliminary information indicates that at about 10:33 p.m., Atlanta police were dispatched to the Wendy’s located at 125 University Ave, Atlanta. Officers were responding to a complaint of a man asleep in a parked vehicle in the drive thru. Customers complained that the parked vehicle was causing them to have to drive around.
The man asleep in the car was later identified as 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks.
Police performed a sobriety test on Brooks. According to the GBI, after failing the test, the officers attempted to place Brooks into custody.
During the arrest, police say Brooks resisted and a struggle ensued. The officer deployed a Taser. Witnesses report that during the struggle Brooks grabbed and was in possession of the Taser.
According to the GBI, Brooks was shot by an officer in the struggle over the Taser.
Brooks was transported to the hospital where he died after surgery.
One officer was treated for an injury sustained during the incident and was subsequently discharged from the hospital.
The GBI will continue its independent investigation. Once completed, the case will be turned over to the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office for review.
The GBI released the surveillance video from the Wendy’s Saturday night.
Police Chief Resigns
Saturday afternoon, Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields submitted her resignation to Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, who accepted the resignation.
“For more than two decades, I have served alongside some of the finest women and men in the Atlanta Police Department. Out of a deep and abiding love for this City and this department, I offered to step aside as police chief,” Shields said in a statement. “APD has my full support, and Mayor Bottoms has my support on the future direction of this department. 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.”
City Officials Respond
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms held a press conference Saturday afternoon where she publicly called for the termination of the officer who shot Brooks.
“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.”
Bottoms said outgoing police chief Shields will remain with the police department in an undetermined role and that Deputy Chief Rodney Bryant would serve as interim police chief until a national search is completed for a new police chief.
Atlanta City Councilman Andre Dickens called on police to de-escalate situations.
“I am saddened to start this day with the news of another black person killed by the police, and especially dismayed to see it happen in our city. Police must de-escalate situations like these before they turn deadly. Once the suspect fled unarmed and intoxicated through a parking lot of bystanders, this could have become an investigation rather than a shooting,” Dickens said. “With the resources we have at hand to investigate, detectives could have located the escaped DUI suspect, but instead we are mourning another unnecessary loss of black life. In solidarity with the millions of voices across this nation, I’m calling for a full review of all APD procedures, training, and shootings. TIME OUT FOR WORDS!”
Protests Stop Traffic
Protesters took to the Interstate Saturday night, blocking a portion of I-75/I-85 in downtown Atlanta.
Protest organizers asked white protesters to move to the front of the protest line out of fear of police retaliation. Police arrived around 10 p.m. and began arresting protesters and clearing the highway.
Another group of protesters set fires near the Wendy’s where Brooks was shot and broke windows at the restaurant.