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Rayshard Brooks

Video, a blocked highway, a burning fast food joint, and an officer fired: Atlanta erupts over police killing

Demonstrators flooded south Atlanta Saturday night, protesting the deadly police shooting of Rayshard Brooks in a Wendy’s parking lot, temporarily blocking a major interstate highway and setting the fast food restaurant ablaze, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.

The police officer who fired the fatal shots, Garrett Rolfe, was fired late Saturday night, and Devin Bronsan, the second officer involved, was placed on administrative duty. Both the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office are investigating the incident, which started when police responded to a call about a man who had fallen asleep in his car in the Wendy’s drive-thru.

Atlanta police released body cam and dash cam footage from the officers. That footage, combined with surveillance footage from the restaurant and witness video released earlier in the day, as reported by CrimeOnline, tells a troublesome story. Videos contained in this story are graphic and contain graphic language.

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The Atlanta Journal-Constitution edited clips of all the videos into a chronological look at the Friday night event.

Bronsan arrives first, and takes some time to awaken Brooks, 27. He has Brooks pull out of the drive-thru line and into a parking space — and in fact tells him to “pull up somewhere and take a nap.” Rolfe, 27, arrives and takes over questioning Brooks. The situation is calm; it appears that Brooks is impaired in some manner. Rolfe administers a field sobriety test and then a Breathalyzer test, which registered .108, slightly above the legal limit of .08. When Rolfe attempts to place Brooks under arrest, the calmness disappears and all three men struggle.

Bronsan body cam:

Bronsan pulls out his Taser, but during the struggle, Brooks takes it away from him and tries to run away. Rolfe follows with his Taser out, reaching to unholster his gun as he runs after Brooks. Brooks fires the Taser over his shoulder at Rolfe as the officer pulls out his weapon and fires at Brooks, who collapses to the ground.

Rolfe body cam:

Witnesses reported seeing the officers put on gloves and pick up the shell casings, but that is not seen on the video — both officer’s body cameras end up lying face up in the parking lot as they pursue Brooks, and Rolfe’s dash cam is pointed in the opposite direction. Witnesses also reported the officers waiting several minutes before checking Brooks. EMTs eventually took him to the hospital, where he died in surgery. Command officers are seen in the video assuring Rolfe that he’s “good.”

Rolfe dash cam:

As the GBI and the APD released video and scrambled to make sense of the scene, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced the resignation of Police Chief Erika Shields, already under fire for previous incidents during protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, and protesters gathered at the Wendy’s restaurant on University Drive off Interstate 75/85, just south of downtown Atlanta. Crowds grew larger and larger as the day went on. At one point, police threw tear gas to move the crowd

As the sun went down, one group of protesters moved onto the busy highway and blocked traffic. As the stalled traffic stretched for miles, troopers eventually told protesters to disperse or be arrested. Organizers urged the protesters to move, and many did. Those who remained — 36, police told the AJC — were arrested peacefully and the highway was slowly reopened. Meanwhile, protesters at Wendy’s had broken windows and set it ablaze. Atlanta Fire officials were unable to get close enough to completely extinguish the fire, which burned throughout the night. Police used tear gas at one point to stop protesters who were throwing objects at the windows of a neighboring gas station, WXIA reported. By morning, residents had arrived to begin the cleanup, and the Atlanta Police Department announced a reward for information leading to an arrest and indictment of those who started the fire.

Crime Stoppers of Greater Atlanta is offering a $10,000 reward for information that will lead to the arrest and…

Posted by City of Atlanta Police Department on Sunday, June 14, 2020

 

L Chris Stewart, and attorney hired by Brooks’s family, spoke with reporters while the protests were at their height.

“Are you not tired of seeing cases like this happen?” he said.

“(The officer) had other options instead of shooting him in the back.”

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[Featured image: Rayshard Brooks/Facebook]