Friday, August 14, 2020

Atlanta Police Chief Resigns After African American Dies

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A freeway blocked by hundreds of people, a restaurant set on fire… Demonstrations broke out on Saturday, June 13 after the new death of an African-American victim of the police, in Atlanta in the United States. A police officer fatally injured a suspect during an attempted arrest. Rayshard Brooks, 27, was shot dead in a confrontation with police, local media reported.

The Atlanta police chief has resigned. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, whose name has been put forward as a possible running mate of Democrat Joe Biden for the November presidential election, announced the resignation of Erika Shields, who had headed the city’s police for more 20 years old.

“Due to her desire for Atlanta to be a model of what meaningful reform should be across the country, Erika Shields tendered her immediate resignation as chief of police.”, the mayor said in televised statements.

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The facts occurred Friday evening in Atlanta, capital of the state of Georgia. They come as numerous protests against police violence and racism have been taking place for weeks in the United States and other countries, following the death of George Floyd, an African-American who died of suffocation by a police officer in Minneapolis, in the northern United States.

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Rayshard Brooks, a 27-year-old black man, fell asleep in his car on the drive-through driveway at Wendy’s restaurant, according to an official report, and facility workers called the police because his vehicle blocked customers.

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The man was drunk and resisted when police tried to arrest him, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) report said.

Video surveillance footage shows “That during a physical struggle with the agents, Brooks grabbed the Taser from one of the agents and fled”, according to the report. “The officers chased Brooks on foot and during the chase Brooks turned and pointed the Taser at the officer. The agent used his gun, hitting Brooks ”, indicates the document.

Rayshard Brooks was taken to a hospital and underwent surgery but died soon after, the report says, which adds that an officer was injured.

The officer who fired, identified as Garrett Rolfe, was fired from the Atlanta Police Department, and a second officer was assigned to administrative duties, according to ABC News.

A lawyer acting on behalf of the victim’s family, Chris Stewart, condemned this disproportionate use of force.

“In Georgia, a Taser is not a lethal weapon, it’s the law. (…) There were other options than shooting him in the back ”, he told reporters.“Reinforcements were coming, two minutes later I believe. It would have been easy to surround him and stop him. Did you have no choice but to kill him? “

Rayshard Brooks was a father of four, he added, and celebrated his daughter’s 8th birthday on the same day.

His death is the 48th shooting incident involving a police officer the GBI has been investigating since the start of this year, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Fifteen of these shootings were fatal.

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