Jun 14, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Atlanta officer fired, chief resigns, Wendy's torched after fatal shooting

Wendy's on fire

Flames engulf Wendy's. Photo: Brynn Anderson/AP

A white Atlanta police officer was fired after fatally shooting Rayshard Brooks, 27, an African American father, following a seconds-long chase in a Wendy’s parking late Friday night, prompting the police chief's quick resignation.

The context, from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "The shooting further inflamed tensions over police use of force and racial injustice." The death was the 48th officer-involved shooting the Georgia Bureau of Investigation has been asked to investigate this year, per the AJC.

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms called for the officer's immediate firing: "I do not believe that this was a justified use of deadly force."

  • 19 hours after the shooting, Police Chief Erika Shields resigned.
  • The firing was announced early today.

The Wendy's turned into an inferno last night, live on cable news.

  • The restaurant, surrounded by an estimated 1,000 protesters, caught fire after protesters broke windows and threw fireworks inside, the AJC reports.
  • As CNN showed chopper views from local stations, Wolf Blitzer pointed out that no firefighters were in sight. Roads were closed because of demonstrations, and fire officials said the crowd posed a danger.
Screenshot of bodycam footage
Bodycam video shows Rayshard Brooks speaking with Officer Garrett Rolfe, who was fired after the shooting, in the Wendy's parking lot late Friday. Photo: Atlanta P.D. via AP

What happened ... Police went to Wendy’s at about 10:30 p.m. Friday, after a complaint about a man sleeping in a car blocking the drive-thru, the AJC reports:

  • Police said Rayshard Brooks failed a field sobriety test. A struggle broke out as officers tried to arrest him.
  • Police tried to tase the man, who grabbed the stun gun and ran. Officers chased him.
  • On surveillance video posted by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the man turns back to the officer, and may have fired the taser.

L. Chris Stewart, attorney for the family of Rayshard Brooks, told CNN:

  • "Why not talk to him as a human being and say: 'Hey, buddy, maybe you had too much to drink. Leave your car here. Take Uber'? Instead, they got physical."

What they're saying ... Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) told Jake Tapper on CNN's "State of the Union": "You've got to restructure our judicial system. Restructure our health care system. Restructure our educational system."

  • Stacey Abrams told George Stephanopoulos on ABC's "This Week": "A man was murdered because he was asleep in a drive-thru."

YouTube of the surveillance video. (Chase begins 28:32.)

How it's playing:

AJC front page
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