Atlanta continued to be rocked by turmoil Saturday as protesters demanded justice for Rayshard Brooks, a 27-year-old Black man who was killed by police the previous day. The officer who fatally shot Brooks was fired late Saturday, and his partner was placed on administrative duty, CNN reported.
Police said Brooks was shot when he resisted arrest after officers confronted him while he was sleeping in his car blocking a Wendy’s drive-through lane. But video posted to social media showed Brooks running away from officers before he was shot off-screen.
The officers had initially tried to use a Taser on Brooks, who wrestled the stun gun away and fled as officers gave chase, according to police. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said in a statement that the fleeing Brooks was shot as he “turned and pointed the Taser” at police. The Bureau said it would release a restaurant surveillance video of the shooting.
Angry protesters set a fire at the Wendy’s where Brooks was shot shortly after 9:30 p.m. Saturday, local Fox News-5 reported. The blaze was started after windows were smashed and fireworks were hurled inside, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. A brush fire was also burning outside.
An Atlanta fire department representative told the newspaper that the blaze grew because it wasn’t safe to get to the restaurant when the fire began. He estimated there were 1,000 protesters near the building. Firefighters finally began to battle the blaze around 11 p.m., but by then a section of the interior appeared to be engulfed in flames.
Earlier, protesters set fire to cars parked outside Wendy’s — and shut down part of Interstate 75/85, a major city thoroughfare.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said at a press briefing Saturday evening that she did not believe the shooting was a “justified use of deadly force,” and called for the “immediate termination of the officer” who fired on Brooks.
Police Chief Erika Shields resigned earlier Saturday as controversy mounted over Brooks’ death.
Late last month Shields fired two city police officers for roughly dragging two young Black people from a car and apparently shocking them with stun guns as anti-racism protests erupted across the nation.
Brooks’ death comes amid nationwide protests over the death of African American George Floyd during a brutal arrest in Minneapolis.