Atlanta police chief steps down after black man shot at Wendy's

Publish Date
Sun, 14 Jun 2020, 11:53AM
People gather outside the Georgia State Capitol during a protest against police brutality in Atlanta. Photo / Getty Images
People gather outside the Georgia State Capitol during a protest against police brutality in Atlanta. Photo / Getty Images

Atlanta police chief steps down after black man shot at Wendy's

Publish Date
Sun, 14 Jun 2020, 11:53AM

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields will step aside as police chief following the deadly officer-involved shooting of a black man Friday night.

Bottoms said this was Shields' decision and she will remain with the city in an undetermined role.

Rodney Bryant will become the city's interim police chief.

Bottoms said she is also calling for the termination of the officer involved in Friday night's deadly shooting at a Wendy's restaurant in Atlanta.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation says surveillance video appears to show a man pointing a Taser at an Atlanta police officer before being shot by that officer in the parking lot of a Wendy's.

The GBI identified the man as Rayshard Brooks, 27, of Atlanta, who was African American.

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, the GBI said. He resisted arrest and struggled with officers, the GBI said.

GBI Director Vic Reynolds said Saturday that his department obtained surveillance video of the incident from Wendy's and reviewed video witnesses posted on social media.

Surveillance video shows Brooks running away with what appears to be the officer's Taser, Reynolds said.

According to the video, Brooks ran the length of about five to seven parking spaces before turning around and pointing the Taser at the officer, Reynolds said.

"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 said.

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

CNN has reached out to the Atlanta Police Department and the mayor's office but they have not responded.

GBI said surveillance video of the incident will be released to the public Saturday. Reynolds said the agency is working to digitally enhance the video.

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

Six Atlanta police officers are facing charges of using excessive force during one protest, Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard announced June 2. Two of the officers were fired by Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.

'I thought Atlanta was higher than that'

At the Wendy's in southeast Atlanta, Decatur Redd, who said he is a relative of Brooks, spoke with reporters and a crowd of people.

"I don't know how to do this because I never knew that I was going to have to do this," Redd said. "I've watched this on the internet, from the whole George Floyd situation to us coming together like we're doing and this whole thing landed on my doorstep with my little cousin.

"I thought Atlanta was higher than that. I thought Atlanta was bigger than that," Redd said.

"We've been watching this happen for so many years, with young black boys around the country just dying in vain," Redd said. "I just don't want that to continue and keep happening like that."

Former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams called for restricting the use of deadly force in a post on Twitter.

"The killing of #RayshardBrooks in Atlanta last night demands we severely restrict the use of deadly force. Yes, investigations must be called for - but so too should accountability," Abrams wrote. "Sleeping in a drive-thru must not end in death."

The Georgia NAACP said Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields should be fired immediately.

"The city of Atlanta must not only address this with their words, but also their actions," said President James Woodall in a media call.

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.

Howard, the district attorney, 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."

CNN affiliate WSB reports this is the 48th police shooting the GBI has investigated in 2020.

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