In Atlanta, the United States fired a policeman who mortally wounded an African American, the police department said Sunday morning. Another policeman transferred to clerical work, according to Voice of America.
These events were preceded by the Saturday resignation of Atlanta Police Chief Erica Shields. She left after the murder of 27-year-old Reichard Brooks on Friday triggered a new wave of protests in Atlanta. Earlier, the death of George Floyd during police detention in Minneapolis was the reason for violent demonstrations throughout the country.
Dismissed officer Garrett Rolfe was hired in October 2013. Devin Brosnan, transferred to office work, was hired in September 2018.
The police department posted a video from the body cameras of both police officers.
Brosnan knocked on the window of Brooks’ car, which drove up to the Wendy’s fast food restaurant, and until the shots rang out, 40 minutes passed. Rolfe arrives at the 16th minute. The shots were heard on camera recordings in Rolfe’s car and on the body cameras of both police officers, but did not hit any of the four recordings published by the police. Both cameras fall during the fight when Rolf tries to handcuff Brooks by talking to him for about 20 minutes. It is seen that before the shots, a stun gun is used to Brooks.
On Saturday evening, demonstrators set fire to Wendy’s restaurant, where Brooks was injured, and blocked a nearby motorway. Atlanta police said 36 people were arrested by early Sunday.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottom announced the resignation of the chief of police at a press conference on Saturday and called for the immediate dismissal of the officer who opened the fire.
“I don’t think the incident was justifiable as a use of lethal force,” Bottoms said.
According to the mayor, Shields herself made a decision to resign.
“I believe in the mayor, and I believe that the time has come when the city should move forward and build trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve,” Shields said in a statement.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (BRD), which is investigating the shooting incident, said the confrontation began with a complaint that a person was sleeping in a car, blocking the entrance to the restaurant. The bureau said Brooks did not pass the sobriety test and resisted attempts to arrest him.
Recordings from surveillance cameras released by the BRD do not show how Brooks’s fight with the police began. They show how a man running away from two white officers raises a hand in which he holds some object and directs it to a policeman, several steps behind him. A policeman takes out a weapon and shoots. The man continues to run, but then falls in the parking lot.
BRD director Vic Reynolds said that Brooks grabbed a stun gun from a policeman and seemed to point him at a policeman who shot three shots in his direction.
A lawyer for the Brooks family said the policeman must be held accountable for “the unjustified use of deadly force, which is tantamount to murder.”
“You can’t say that a stun gun is not a lethal weapon, but then, when an African-American grabs it and runs away with it, it immediately becomes lethal, because of which you need to release a clip into a person,” said lawyer Chris Stewart.
He noted that Brooks has four children and the day he was killed, his daughter was eight years old.
Brooks died in one of Atlanta’s hospitals. One of the officers received medical attention in connection with injuries whose nature was not disclosed.