In the aftermath of yet another disaster for race relations and police-African American relations in the United States, the police chief of the city of Atlanta has resigned following the fatal shooting of a man who was fleeing from officers.
The man, subsequently identified as Rayshard Brooks (27), was armed with a non-lethal Tazer he had taken during a scuffle with two white policemen. He was shot dead fleeing the scene in the parking lot of a Wendy’s fast-food drive-through.
You can watch YouTube footage of the incident here (NB: Scenes may be disturbing):
America’s anguish and turmoil kicks off again
Now Atlanta’s police chief has resigned, the officer involved in the shooting has been fired, and rioters have burned down the Wendy’s outlet.
In short, just as the turmoil that has engulfed the US in recent weeks was showing signs of moderating slightly, it all seems to be kicking off again.
Mayor says use of deadly force was not justified
Less than 24 hours after the incident, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said she did not believe this was a justified use of deadly force.
“While there may be debate as to whether this was an appropriate use of deadly force, I firmly believe that there is a distinction between what you can do and what you should do,” Bottoms said. She also confirmed that police chief Erika Shields was resigning.
“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 in a prepared statement.
Protest turns violent and restaurant set alight
Protestors soon began gathering at the scene and by Saturday night, the day after the shooting, the Wendy’s outlet had been set alight.
You can watch YouTube footage of the building ablaze here:
“I just want to make enough noise that they investigate the situation, one protester told local new channel WSB. The channel reported that a large crowd remained on the streets of southwest Atlanta into early Sunday morning, facing off with police.
Deceased was causing an obstruction in a drive-thru
According to CNN, the shooting unfolded when police responded to a call Friday night about a man sleeping in a parked vehicle in the restaurant’s drive-thru lane, causing other customers to drive around it. When they arrived, police gave Brooks a sobriety test, which he failed.
He resisted arrest, struggled with the officers and grabbed a Taser. He then broke free and started running away.
Surveillance video shows him appearing to point the stun gun in the officer’s direction before falling to the ground after being shot. He was taken to the hospital, where he died. An officer was treated for an injury at the hospital and released.