People in Atlanta were protesting the latest case of a preventable police death of a Black person as law enforcement released the controversial video footage from the fatal encounter with officers in the parking lot of a fast-food restaurant on Friday night. The Wendy’s location burned to the ground Saturday night as people demanded answers for the latest preventable police shooting of a Black man.
Rayshard Brooks was shot in the back and died from his injuries shortly after he and two officers struggled when they tried to arrest him for driving under the influence. Police had been called to the Wendy’s restaurant because Brooks, 27, had been sleeping in his car at the drive-thru. After police gave him Brooks a sobriety treat and tried to handcuff him, a struggle ensued and he was able to run away. Cops said he grabbed one of their Tasers which is the supposed reason why Atlanta Police Officer Garrett Rolfe decided to fire the fatal shots into Brooks’ back despite the victim not posing any immediate threat to either of the two responding officers.
Rolfe was fired and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms accepted the resignation of Police Chief Erika Shields on Saturday following the fallout of the shooting, local news outlet 11 Alive reported. The other responding officer, Devin Bronsan, has been placed on administrative leave.
Video of Brooks’ death had been recorded by a bystander and went viral Saturday.
But police on Saturday also released the dashcam and bodycam footage with unprecedented swiftness in an apparent attempt at total transparency.
Please be warned that the footage is very graphic in nature.
Bronsan’s bodycam footage:
Rolfe’s bodycam footage:
Rolfe’s dashcam footage:
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation put out a press release Saturday night announcing its preliminary findings. The press release referenced “new videos” that it said “indicate that during a physical struggle with officers, Brooks obtained one of the officer’s Tasers and began to flee from the scene. Officers pursued Brooks on foot and during the chase, Brooks turned and pointed the Taser at the officer. The officer fired his weapon, striking Brooks.”
The police killing Friday night took place as the nation was protesting against the type of police violence that claimed the life of Brooks as well as George Floyd in Minneapolis and Breonna Taylor in Lousiville. In all three cases, each of the victims of police violence did not pose an imminent sense of danger to the officers who have been trained on how to react to such situations.
The decision to resort to using lethal force instead of an attempt to de-escalate peacefully has been the common denominator in so many race-fueled police shootings, resulting in last week’s Justice in Policing Act of 2020, a bill introduced by House Democrats that would radically transform the way the nation’s police departments enforce laws.