Atlanta Shooting: Police Chief Steps Down After Deadly Officer-Involved Shooting of Black Man at Wendy's

Atlanta police chief, Erika Shields resigned Saturday afternoon, hours after a 27-year-old Black man was shot and killed by a police officer on Friday night outside a Wendy's restaurant. Rayshard Brooks was shot after he allegedly took a taser from an officer. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said it was an unnecessary use of deadly force and called for the office to be fired.

"While there may be a debate about whether this was an appropriate use of deadly force, I firmly believe there is a clear distinction between what you can do and what you should do," Bottoms said during a Saturday press conference, reports WSB-TV. Shields will take a different role in the department while former Assistant Police Chief Rodney Bryant was picked to serve as interim police chief.

The Friday night incident began around 10:30 p.m. ET Friday when police officers were called to the Wendy's because a male driver fell asleep while his vehicle was parked in the drive-thru lane. According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, police administered a sobriety test on Brooks, which he failed. There was a struggle between Brooks and the two responding officers. The video appears to show Brooks taking one of the officers' tasers and pointing it at one of the officers. The officer fired his weapon, hitting Brooks, who later died at the hospital.

The GBI said it obtained a surveillance video from Wendy's and agents are looking at other videos circulating on social media. The surveillance video was released to the public. The GBI is investigating the shooting, as is the Fulton County District Attorney's Office. After video of the shooting surfaced, the NAACP called on Shields to resign, adding this "is not the first time a Black man was killed for sleeping."

Although Shields was once praised for engaging with protesters in late May, she has since come under heavy scrutiny for the Atlanta Police Department's actions. On May 31, footage of officers using excessive force when arresting two college students went viral. Two officers were fired and four others were put on desk duty. After District Attorney Paul Howard arrested all six officers, Shields called the charges "a tsunami of political jockeying during an election year."


Brooks' death came amid growing protests of police brutality and racial inequality following George Floyd's killing in Minneapolis police custody on May 25. Georgia officials have also been criticized for waiting over two months to charge three White men in the February murder of Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man.