Death of Rayshard Brooks & The Protests that followed in Atlanta

The incident began with a call to police at 10:33 p.m. Friday about a man sleeping in a parked vehicle in the restaurant’s drive-thru lane, causing other customers to drive around it, the GBI said in a statement. Police gave Brooks a field sobriety test, which he failed. He resisted arrest and struggled with officers. GBI Director Vic Reynolds said Saturday that his department obtained surveillance video of the incident from Wendy’s and reviewed video that witnesses posted on social media.

Rayshard Brooks: Bodycam, dashcam footage shows moments leading to ...

The video from the eyewitness begins in the middle of the struggle between Brooks and two police officers. In the video, an officer is heard telling Brooks to “stop fighting” and “hands off the taser.

“The eyewitness said to reporters that by the time they arrived on the scene, Brooks’ car was parked in a parking spot.”The fight started when they tried to make an arrest … after that he took a taser and took off,” the witness said.

As the scuffle broke up, the video shows Brooks beginning to run from the officers and he is seen holding what appears to be a stun gun in his right hand. It appears one of the officers fires their stun gun at Brooks three times as he runs away. Witnesses told GBI investigators that Brooks had one of the officer’s stun guns. Shortly after Brooks and one of the officers run by the car of the eyewitness taking the video, a second officer runs by, following Brooks. Three shots are then heard out of frame.

The Wendy’s surveillance video doesn’t show the scuffle, but shows Brooks running away from where police cars are parked. In that video, Brooks appears to point the stun gun at the Atlanta officer. “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, the GBI director, said in a press conference on Saturday.

Brooks was taken to a hospital, where he died, the statement said. One officer was treated for an injury and released.

Body Cam footage:

Mayor criticizes officer

At a news conference Saturday, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms criticized the officer who shot Brooks, saying, “There is a clear distinction between what you can do and what you should do.” “I do not believe this was a justified use of deadly force,” Bottoms said.

The Atlanta police officer who fatally shot Rayshard Brooks has been terminated, Atlanta police spokesman says on Saturday June 13th 2020. A second officer involved has been placed on administrative duty, Campos said.

Atlanta Police Chief Steps Aside

It was APD Chief Erika Shields’ decision to step aside and she will remain with the city in an undetermined role. In a statement, Shields said she’s stepping down “out of a deep and abiding love for this City and this department.”

“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,” Shields said.

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Rodney Bryant, the current head of the city’s corrections department, will serve as the city’s interim police chief.

Protests Block the Interstate

Brooks’ killing comes during global protests and discussion of racism and police use of force following the death of George Floyd last month in Minneapolis. Atlanta has seen frequent protests, including some that have turned violent.

As protesters flooded streets of southeast Atlanta Saturday night, angry over the fatal shooting of Rayshard Brooks, an unarmed black man who was killed by Atlanta police Friday night. The protesters surrounded the Wendy’s where Brooks was shot and then made their way to nearby Interstate 75/85, bringing the major thoroughfare to a standstill.

Protestors block University Avenue near the Wendy's restaurant in Atlanta on Saturday, June 13, 2020, where Rayshard Brooks, a 27-year-old black man, was shot and killed by Atlanta police Friday evening during a struggle in the restaurant's parking lot.

The Wendy’s where Brooks lost his life was in flames Saturday night, and a crowd also set fire to automobiles near the fast-food restaurant. Earlier in the day, police used tear gas and a flash bang to try to clear the crowd there. The chaos came after Atlanta’s police chief stepped down and the mayor called for the officer who shot Brooks to be fired.

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Six Atlanta police officers are already facing charges of using excessive force related to the arrest of two college students at a protest late last month. (no wonder APC stepped down)

The officers were filmed in downtown Atlanta breaking windows of a vehicle, yanking a woman out of the car and using a stun gun on a man. The two victims were later identified as college students at Spelman and Morehouse, both historically black universities in Atlanta. They were on their way home from picking up food when they got caught in traffic downtown caused by a protest of police violence against black citizens. Two of the officers were fired by the mayor. This is just one more example of the issues we’re all seeing now that everything is filmed/documented by everyone. So it’s not just about Mr Brooks it’s about everyone being brutalized by police officers.

Attorneys L. Chris Stewart and Justin Miller are representing Brooks’ family. They said he was a father of three daughters and a stepson.

Stewart said witnesses to the shooting he talked to described Brooks as having a calm conversation with the officers before they tried to arrest him. “He wasn’t doing anything violent or crazy,” Stewart said.

Stewart also said the surveillance video shows officers waited 2 minutes and 16 seconds to begin providing aid to Brooks. He has called for more police training and an emphasis on community policing, with officers living in the area where they work.

District attorney investigating

The GBI is investigating at the request of the APD. Once completed, the case will be turned over to prosecutors for review. Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard issued a statement Saturday afternoon. “My office has already launched an intense, independent investigation of the incident,” Howard said. “Members of the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office were on scene shortly after the shooting, and we have been in investigative sessions ever since to identify all of the facts and circumstances surrounding this incident.”

What are your thoughts?