Politics

Atlanta in flames over police shooting, police chief steps down

The city continues the weeks long process of national rioting.

Image Credit: Twitter screenshot

Atlanta, a city led for decades by a Democrat African-American political establishment is feeling the heat, literally, as rioters erupted in vandalism and arson Saturday night in response to the police-involved shooting death on Friday of 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks outside a Wendy’s fast-food restaurant.

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. As he was running away and thus and not an immediate threat to officers, it is unclear at this time what prompted the officers to engage him with deadly force. Rioting took place Saturday night outside of the Wendy’s fast food restaurant where the shooting took place.

“I do not believe that this was a justified use of deadly force,” Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said. Rioters have since painted “Defund the police” in the street outside Atlanta police headquarters. GOP Governor Brian Kemp tweeted that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation will be looking into the case.

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In another incident that has caused much uproar in the community, on May 30, a group of police officers used tasers on a two young adults who were in a car that was stuck in traffic because of riots that night. Six police officers have since been charged in connection with the case and will not likely escape professionally unharmed from the incident.

In related news, after the shooting at Wendy’s Atlanta police Chief Erika Shields resigned amid Saturday protests over the Brooks shooting. Scant days before she was drawing praise in the national media for her words on the Floyd riots, “I hear you. I’ve heard from so many people who can’t sleep. They’re terrified , they’re crying, they’re worried for their children,” she recently said. But that was before another police shooting came to roost on her own doorstep.

Shields resigned less than a day after Brooks was fatally shot. The Mayor of Atlanta accepted her resignation, “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 and rebuilding the trust so desperately needed throughout our communities,” Mayor Bottoms said Saturday. Shields will remain on the force in another capacity.

This development will possibly embolden groups that have been rioting for weeks to protest the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. Violent nationwide riots are again likely to appear to continue to work for peace in our communities and national unity.

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