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Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Fatal police shooting of a black man outside a restaurant sparks fresh wave of protests in Atlanta

The death of another African American man, two weeks after the killing of George Floyd has sparked a fresh wave of violent unrest in the city, with protestors blocking a major highway and setting ablaze the restaurant at which the incident occurred.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: June 14, 2020 1:29:01 pm
A person holds a sign as a Wendy’s restaurant burns Saturday, June 13, 2020, in Atlanta after demonstrators set it on fire. (Ben GrayAtlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

Amid the ongoing nation-wide protests against racism and police brutality in the United States, a police official on Saturday shot and killed an African American man who had fallen asleep in his car in the drive-thru lane of a fast food restaurant in Atlanta, Georgia. The man’s death has sparked a fresh wave of violent unrest in the city, with protestors blocking a major highway and setting ablaze the restaurant at which the incident occurred, New York Times reported.

According to authorities, police arrived outside an outlet of the Wendy’s fast food chain after receiving complaints about a man obstructing the drive-thru lane with his car. The man, identified as 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks, allegedly struggled with the police officials in an attempt to escape arrest when he failed a sobriety test. A video captured by a bystander shows Brooks being shot while running away with what appears to be a police stun gun in his hand. Brooks later died while undergoing surgery at a nearby hospital, according to a report by Forbes.

Less than 24 hours after Brooks was killed, the city’s mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced that Atlanta’s police chief Erika Shields had stepped down from her role. One of the police officers involved in Brook’s death has been fired while another has been placed on administrative duty, Bottoms said in a media briefing.

“Chief Shields has offered to immediately step aside as police chief so that the city may move forward with urgency in rebuilding the trust so desperately needed throughout our community,” Bottoms said.

Outraged by his death, a huge group of protestors filled the streets — obstructing traffic and clashing with law enforcement authorities, Reuters reported. Several demonstrators gathered outside the Wendy’s at which the incident occurred — breaking windows and throwing fireworks inside. Footage aired on local television shows the restaurant up in flames for over 45 minutes before fire fighters arrived to contain the blaze.

In addition to the Wendy’s fire, demonstrators allegedly stopped traffic after they locked arms and marched down a major highway — blocking it for commuters. Despite warnings from police and state troopers, the protestors continued to occupy the highway leading to several arrests, as per reports. According to local media reports, police in riot gear used tear gas and flash grenades in an attempt to disperse the crowds.

Brookes’ death comes two weeks after the custodial killing of unarmed African American George Floyd in Minneapolis, which triggered a widespread movement against police brutality and the systemic oppression faced by black people in the United States.

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