Updated Jun 13, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Atlanta police chief resigns after black man is shot by police

Atlanta Chief of Police Erika Shields in Atlanta GA. Photo: Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Atlanta Chief of Police Erika Shields has offered her immediate resignation, one day after the Georgia Bureau of Investigation began its review into the death of Rayshard Brooks, a 27-year-old, black Atlanta resident, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms told reporters on Saturday.

What's new: A lawyer for the Brooks family disputed during a news conference Saturday night the official account that the shooting happened after Brooks failed a sobriety test, saying witnesses his team had spoken with did not see this.

  • Attorney L. Chris Stewart said the officer involved in the shooting should be charged for "an unjustified use of deadly force, which equals murder."
"You can’t say a Taser is a nonlethal weapon ... but when an African American grabs it and runs with it, now it’s some kind of deadly, lethal weapon that calls for you to unload on somebody."

The state of play: Footage from the GBI shows that officers were sent to a Wendy's around 10:30 p.m., in response to a complaint of a man in a parked car who had fallen asleep in the drive-thru, and was suspected of driving under the influence. GBI provided the following account:

  • Police administered a sobriety test to Brooks that he reportedly failed. Officers took him into custody and he resisted arrest.
  • Brooks obtained one of the officer's Tasers and began to flee from the scene, after which officers pursued Brooks on foot and during the chase, Brooks allegedly turned and pointed the Taser at the officer. The officer fired his weapon, striking Brooks, GBI found in its Saturday report.
  • An earlier account of the event was based on the officer's body cam, which was knocked off during the physical struggle, GBI says.
  • Brooks died in a local hospital after surgery.
  • One officer was treated for an injury sustained during the incident and has since been released from the hospital.

What she's saying: "I do not believe that this was a justified use of deadly force and have called for the immediate termination of the officer," Bottoms said at a press conference on Saturday.

Of note: Shields' sudden resignation in the midst of a fledgling investigation comes as police departments across the country face scrutiny into use of force and oversight in the wake of George Floyd's killing in Minneapolis.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with Stewart's comments.

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