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Atlanta Riots Rage over Another Police Shooting



Protests in Atlanta | Atlanta Riots Rage over Another Police Shooting | Featured

Atlanta struggled through intensified riots over the weekend, sparked by the shooting of another unarmed black man by police. While this shooting was arguably much more justified than Floyd’s death, the public reaction was nonetheless just as angry. Protests and riots broke out in the city, and the Wendy’s in whose parking lot the incident took place was burned to the ground.

Footage Shows a Complex Encounter

The killing of George Floyd showed an objective misuse of police force which resulted in Floyd’s death. The outrage following incident was due to this simple injustice, which was captured on video. The circumstances surrounding death of Rayshard Brooks this weekend were not nearly as clear cut. Many would argue that police were not only justified in shooting Brooks, but also exercised restraint in the moments leading up to his death.

The incident began when police responded to reports of a man asleep at the wheel in a Wendy’s drive-through. Body cam footage shows two officers tapping on Brooks’ window in an attempt to wake him. Eventually, they opened his door and nudged him awake. Brooks then pulled his car over and got out, submitting to a field sobriety test.

Once it became apparent that Brooks was intoxicated, the police told Brooks they needed to arrest him for a DUI. Up until that point, the encounter between Brooks and the officers had been cordial, but as soon as they attempted to put him in handcuffs, Brooks began to resist violently.

The officers then yell for Brooks to stop fighting, and that he’ll be taxed if he continues to resist. Brooks ignored the warnings and began grabbing at the officers’ tazers, and the officers did not taze him or escalate to any additional use of force.

As the officers attempt to subdue him, Brooks can be seen wriggling free, grabbing an officer’s tazer, and running down the parking lot. Wendy’s parking lot footage shows the police pursue the man, and then Brooks turned to aim the tazer at the officers. Shortly after aiming at the officers, one of them fired three times at Brooks, who died shortly after the encounter.

Officer Fired, Chief Resigns in Aftermath

Atlanta mayor Keisha Bottoms said she doesn’t feel that lethal force was justified. In response to the incident, she said,
“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.”

The officer who shot Brooks was promptly fired following the incident, while the other officer was placed on desk duty. Erika Shields, the chief of the Atlanta Police Department, resigned over the weekend, citing the need for the department to move forward. Mayor Bottoms applauded the move, but said that Shields made the decision alone.

Some prominent members of the law enforcement community have expressed disappointment over the public outrage and punitive action for an apparently justified use of force. CBP commissioner Mark Morgan appeared on Fox & Friends to discuss the incident.

“Mr. Brooks, he didn’t just resist a lawful arrest, he did so violently. He fought with the police, again and again. He took their weapon, one of their weapons and tried to use it against him. That is a different complete set of circumstances,” Morgan added, referencing the death of George Floyd.

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