Atlanta police chief resigns over Rayshard Brooks shooting

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Atlanta’s police chief has resigned after the fatal shooting of an African-American man during an arrest.

Rayshard Brooks, 27, was shot by an officer during a struggle at a drive-through restaurant late on Friday.

On Saturday protesters set fire to the Wendy’s restaurant where the shooting occurred and police chief Erika Shields handed in her resignation.

Atlanta is one of many US cities where the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police sparked protests.

Mr Floyd, who is also African American, died after a white officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes. His death has generated widespread anger against racism and police brutality.

One of the Atlanta police officers involved in the latest shooting, Garrett Rolfe, has been sacked, and the other, Devin Bronsan, put on administrative duty.

Erika Shields had served as Atlanta police chief since December 2016 after a long career in the force. Her resignation was announced by Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.

“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,” the mayor said in a statement.

What happened on Friday night?

The Georgia Bureau of Investigations (GBI), which is investigating, says the officers were called to the restaurant because Mr Brooks had fallen asleep in his car, which was blocking the drive-through lane.

Body camera footage released by the police department shows the officers administering a sobriety test and then a breathalyser test with Mr Brooks’ permission.

The two officers then try to handcuff him – at which point their bodycams fall off. In security camera video, they can be seen struggling with Mr Brooks on the ground.

He grabs an officer’s Taser and breaks free from the officers, running away. The other then uses his Taser on Mr Brooks, and both officers then run out of the frame of the video.

Gunshots can then be heard and Mr Brooks is seen on the ground. He was taken to hospital but later died. One of the officers was treated for an injury from the incident.

The Fulton County prosecutor’s office is conducting a separate investigation into the incident, it said in a statement .

Lawyers representing Mr Brooks’ family said the officer had no right to use deadly force, saying the Taser which Mr Brooks had grabbed was a non-lethal weapon.

“You can’t shoot somebody unless they are pointing a gun at you,” attorney Chris Stewart said.

This is the 48th officer-involved shooting the Georgia Bureau of Investigation has investigated this year, according to ABC News. Of those cases, 15 were fatal .

Protests began outside the restaurant late on Friday and resumed in central Atlanta on Saturday. Images from the protest show demonstrators holding signs with Brooks’ name and Black Lives Matter signs.

People in Atlanta had already been protesting following the death of George Floyd. The officer who killed him on 25 May has been sacked and charged with murder.

What has happened in other US cities?

Demonstrations have taken place across the US and across the world since Mr Floyd’s death. Many in the US are calling for the police to be reformed.

In Minneapolis, the city council passed a resolution on Friday to replace its police department with a community-led public safety system.

The council said it would begin a year-long process of engaging “with every willing community member in Minneapolis” to come up with a new public safety model.

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In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo said he would stop financing local authorities that failed to adopt reforms addressing excessive use of force and bias in their police departments.

President Donald Trump said on Friday that the chokehold method for restraining some suspects should, “generally speaking”, be ended .

He also postponed his first post-coronavirus lockdown election rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma so it does not fall on 19 June, a date commemorating the end of US slavery.

Mr Trump moved the rally to the 20th, following criticism. The location was also controversial, as one of the worst race massacres in US history took place in Tulsa, in 1921.

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