Rashard Brooks resigns from Atlanta police chief after police death, police clash with protesters

ATLANTA - Atlanta police chief stepped into action Saturday night in the wake of the death of a 27-year-old black man who was shot and killed while fleeing a fight at Wendy's Drive-Through, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said. Hours later, police and National Guard soldiers clashed with protesters outside a fast-food restaurant.

In the drive-thru, the Bureau of Investigation said Razard Brooks was sleeping in his car and other customers were sitting in the car. According to authorities, police were dispatched to Wendy's at about 10:30 pm, and a thorough examination was conducted on Brooks, who failed the test.

"At the time of the arrest, the male subject was opposed and the fight continued," the Bureau of Investigation said. "The officer deployed a Taser. Witnesses reported the male subject was caught during the confrontation and captured the Taser.

One officer was treated for the injury and was discharged following ision. Brooks died in hospital after surgery.

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced at a news conference Saturday afternoon that Police Chief Erica Shields is making a move shortly after the shooting. He called for the removal of Brooks, who was on administrative duty, and the police officer who shot another officer.

"While there is debate as to whether this is a fair use of deadly force, I strongly believe that there is a clear distinction between what you can do and what you should do. I do not believe that there is a fair use of force," Bottoms said.

Bottoms said Shield will continue to be "on schedule" in a different role in the Police Department.

"To Mr. Brooks's family, there are not enough words to express how sorry I am for your loss. I hope you find some solace in the active work done today."

Bottoms Shields has been called "a solid member of the APD for over two decades."

“And because Atlanta wants to be a model for meaningful reform in this country, Chief Shields has immediately stepped up as chief of police, encouraging the city to readily rebuild trust.

On Saturday night, several hundred people gathered in the silver parking lot, where Brooks confronted police. Some read "Tell His Name" and suggested that "He does not deserve to die" and "blamed the murderous police." The restaurant is closed to patrons.

Tyler Brown, 29, said he was one of the first protesters to arrive on Wendy's Saturday morning after learning of Brooks' death on social media. The community is left wondering why Brown, who lives a few blocks away, felt the need to kill Brooks.

“To tell you the truth, I was tired,” Brown said. "Whatever you do, you are unarmed. You are in no danger. You are on the ground in the handcuffs, and they still feel the need to shoot you while putting the knee on your neck."

Kayla Pruitt, a 24-year-old from Atlanta, said the protesters' screams in recent weeks seem to have fallen on deaf ears with police.

"We have been out here for a few weeks now and are killing people," said Pritt, who came to Wendy's on Saturday to protest police violence. "Didn't anyone hear that?"

At 8:30 pm the peaceful protest turned violent. National Guard soldiers arrived with guns. Some protesters surrounded a police car and began throwing stones at it. Law enforcement officers had to withdraw from the crowd, without touching other protesters, police and soldiers. Minutes later, law enforcement officials released several tear gas into the crowd, causing protesters to flee.

It's not clear why Brooke was sleeping in her car at the drive-thru Friday night.

Wendy's surveillance video, published by the Bureau of Investigation on Saturday afternoon, showed officers could drive the vehicle to a drive-thru parking lot. The vehicle can be seen towing another car, but the officer and Brooks are not seen in the video.

About half an hour later, Brooks can be seen running away from the two officers, who follow him. When Brooks fled, he turned to an officer, pointed to Taser, and the officer fired his weapon. Brooks lies on the ground and motionless.

As the two officers approached Brooks on the ground, the crowd could be seen getting out of their cars and recording videos.

Vic Reynolds, director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, said Saturday afternoon that the agency had collected silver, police bodycam videos, and videos posted on social media from surveillance video. Reynolds said the agency spoke with at least one witness who confirmed the video.

“The video shows him running away from Atlanta police officers,” Reynolds said.

Reynolds said he did not know how many shots were fired. He did not comment on whether it was appropriate for the officer to use force.

Reynolds said, "We haven't extended that video digitally yet, we will."

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard, Jr. said in a statement Saturday that his office is launching an "intensive, independent" investigation into the incident and that his office members were at the scene shortly after the shooting.

"Our thoughts and our sympathies extend to the Rashard Brooks family because we should not forget that this research focuses on casualties," Howard said.

A video of a bartender who Brooks encountered with the police began airing on social media Friday night. USA Today was unable to independently verify the video.

After George Floyd's death amid tens of thousands of protests around the world against black police killings, a black man was killed by a white Minneapolis police officer who died more than eight minutes ago on Memorial Day, placing a knee in Floyd's neck.

In a statement on Saturday, Georgia NAAKP Shields & Bottoms "called for their community to be held accountable for the continued threat of innocent black lives."

"At this point, we must address the presence of high-saturation police in Atlanta's black communities. This is not the first time a black man has been killed while sleeping," the company said in a statement. "The City of Atlanta must address not only his words but also his actions and budget decisions."

Former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams of Georgia condemned the firing on Twitter Saturday morning.

"Abrams wrote," The murder of #Reshard Brooks in Atlanta last night has severely limited our use of deadly force. Yes, the investigation should be called for - but there must be accountability. "" Sleeping on the drive-thru should not end with death. "

The daughter of Martin Luther King, Jr., Bernice King said on Twitter that Brooks' death "had no value in her life."

"Bottom line: #Reshard Brooks should be alive," she wrote. "Rashard's life did not end with calling the police because he was sleeping in his car by the drive. I am learning more and talking to the community."

Outside of silver, Joanne Trotter said she traveled from Oakland, California to Atlanta earlier this week to join the ongoing protests. He said he was disappointed that police officers were using unnecessary force on black people.

As a black man, the 23-year-old cop started fighting the group before he showed me that my life had no value. "I can be killed at any time and this is another hashtag, another protest. There is no automatic justice in my life."

Authorities in Georgia have drawn scrutiny in recent months to tackle the murder of Ahmad Erby. In February, three whites shot 25-year-old Erby, who was black, while jogging two miles from their home in a neighborhood outside of Brunswick, Georgia. The murder charges and arrests took more than two months, culminating in the Arby case, which was eventually handed over to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

"I sarcastically thought I was standing in front of you because the GBI joined the Archie case in Brunswick," Reynolds said Saturday. "Like the Arberry case in Brunswick, we will again ask for community tolerance."

In total, the Bureau is investigating 48 officer-led shootings this year, Bureau spokeswoman Nelly Miles told USA TODAY.

Ibram x. When Americans tried to educate themselves about the nation's racist systems after Floyd's death, the book "How to Be an Entrepreneur" reached number one on the hardcover nonfiction list, not tweeting that Brooks was the cause of death.

"I suspect racist Americans would argue that #Reshard Brooks shouldn't flee; he frightened the authorities for his life; his unarmed man threatened him; so they had to shoot him in the back. Or, we'll hear about Apple." The deadly tree has fallen, ”he said.

Former police chief Erica Shields issued a statement Saturday saying she had a "deep and unpleasant love" for Atlanta.

"I trust the mayor, it's time for the city to move forward and build trust between law enforcement and the communities they work for," she said.

Bottoms said Atlanta Police Deputy Chief Rodney Bryant will serve as interim chief.

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