News & Politics

Atlanta Protests Get Violent After Questionable Police Shooting

Police shooting of Rayshard Brooks (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

The city of Atlanta is on edge after police shot and killed a black man in a Wendy’s parking lot following an altercation at the drive-through.

Police received a call that a man was asleep in the drive-through lane, forcing customers to drive around him. When police arrived they gave the suspect, Rayshard Brooks, a field sobriety test that he reportedly failed. When the police moved to take Brooks into custody he resisted arrest. One officer tried to taser Brooks but the suspect took the weapon away and started to run. It appears from the video that Brooks turned back to fire the taser at police, at which point he was shot in the back and killed.

Here’s a Wendy’s surveillance video of the shooting.

Here’s a Twitter video of the struggle.

The chief of police, Erika Shields, was forced to resign after violence exploded across the city. The officer who fired the fatal shot was fired and the other officer was placed on administrative duty.

Meanwhile, Atlanta exploded.

Fox News:

Television images showed the restaurant on fire around 9:30 p.m. ET as rioters filled the parking lot where Brooks was shot by police as he fled after allegedly grabbing a stun gun away from an officer during a struggle.

Early Sunday, around 4 a.m. ET, the Wendy’s was seen burning again, Atlanta’s WGCL-TV reported.

Smaller fires were also seen in the area Saturday night.

Nearby, protesters gathered along University Avenue, with Atlanta police blocking access ramps to Interstate 85, apparently to keep the protesters off the roadway, FOX 5 of Atlanta reported.

The cops ended up arresting people for trying to block the interstate.

Note the description of the arsonists as “protesters.”

Chief Shields was apparently forced to fall on her sword for Mayor Bottoms, who accepted the “resignation” while praising her service.

AJC:

“Chief Erika Shields has been a solid member of APD for over two decades and has a deep and abiding love for the people of Atlanta. And because of her desire that Atlanta be a model of what meaningful reform should look like across this country, Chief Shields has offered to immediately step aside as police chief so that the city may move forward with urgency in rebuilding the trust so desperately needed throughout our community,” Bottoms said.

Assistant police Chief Rodney Bryant will serve as the interim chief. Bottoms said Shields “will continue in a role, to be determined.”

I’m not even going to try to analyze the video of the shooting, but the recording of Brooks resisting arrest is pretty straightforward. He could have injured one or both of the officers and tasering the suspect was entirely appropriate. That he was able to escape two police officers and begin to run attests to the violence of his resistance.

In calmer times, both officers would have been placed on leave or administrative duty while an investigation determined whether the shooting was justified. But these are not normal times and that’s what makes the way the officers are being treated so maddeningly unfair.

Those crying loudest for “justice” apparently only want it for certain people. But justice is meaningless unless it applies to all — even police officers involved in a questionable shooting.

It’s a kangaroo court for cops across America where any suspicion of unwarranted violence by cops can get you fired. By any standard of fairness and decency, that’s wrong.

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