A fire broke out inside a Wendy's restaurant where police shot and killed Rayshard Brooks, a 27-year-old Black man, Friday night. Videos and photos from social media show protesters gathering outside the restaurant and the fire beginning inside the building just after 9:30 p.m. ET. Atlanta has now been the site of protests against police brutality for three consecutive weekends, inspired by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody on May 25.
Police arrived at the Wendy's at 125 University Ave. after 10:30 p.m. ET, when they received a complaint about a vehicle parked in a drive-thru lane. Police had Brooks take a sobriety test, which he allegedly failed. According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, surveillance footage from the restaurant shows there was a struggle and Brooks grabbed one of the officers' tasers. Brooks tried to flee and apparently turned to fire the taser at one of the officers. An officer shot Brooks, who died at a nearby hospital. The officer has not been identified.
On Saturday afternoon, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields turned in her resignation. Bottoms said the shooting was an example of unnecessary use of deadly force and the officer has been fired. Another officer at the scene was placed on administrative duty, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Former Assistant Police Chief Rodney Bryant was hired to serve as interim police chief. Meanwhile, the GBI and Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard are running their own independent investigations into the shooting.
The series of events during the day led to protests at night, including a gathering at the Wendy's where Brooks was killed. Protesters also marched onto the Interstate 85 and Interstate 75 connector, blocking traffic, reports CNN. Dozens of police vehicles were parked along the highway. Protest organizers asked people outside the Wendy's to go home.
Brooks' family hired attorneys L. Chris Stewart and Justin Miller after the shooting. During a press conference, Miller said the "first failing" he saw in the video was training. "If a Taser isn't a deadly weapon, it isn't a deadly weapon when I have it or anyone else has it. There were two officers, one of them. Their training failed him. Maybe the police chief needed to resign," Stewart said, reports the Journal-Constitution. Brooks' family said he left behind three daughters and a stepson.