State Watch

Atlanta police chief steps down after fatal shooting near Wendy’s drive-thru

Atlanta Police Chief Ericka Shields voluntarily stepped down from the city’s department Saturday afternoon following the deadly police shooting of 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks Friday night outside of a local Wendy’s drive-thru.

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced Shields’ withdrawal from the department during a press conference Saturday, while also calling for the “immediate termination” of the officer who shot Brooks.

“Chief Ericka Shields has been a solid member of APD for over two decades and has a deep and abiding love for the people of Atlanta,” Bottoms said.

“And because of her desire that Atlanta should be a meaningful model of what 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 in rebuilding the trust so desperately needed throughout our communities,” she continued. 

Atlanta Police Department (ADP) officers were reportedly dispatched to a Wendy’s in the city Friday evening around 10:30 p.m. in response to complaints that Brooks was asleep in the drive-thru of the restaurant.

Police said they attempted to take Brooks into custody following a failed sobriety test, which led to a struggle between Brooks and the other officers.

Brooks, while allegedly resisting, grabbed an officer’s Taser and ran off with it.

After a achieving a certain distance, footage captured of the scene from the Wendy’s parking lot shows Brooks turning around and appears to point the stun gun at police. Officers then shot him. 

During the press briefing Bottoms said that she did not “believe that this was a justified use of deadly force.”

An ambulance transferred Brooks to a local hospital, and he later died after surgery.

One officer was treated for an injury sustained during the exchange and was later discharged from the hospital.

The Friday incident involving officers and Brooks marks the 48th officer-involved shooting in 2020 that the GBI has been asked to investigate, according to reporting from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Crowds of people showed up at the scene Saturday to peacefully protest the shooting that happened Friday evening.

Other protests ensued across the city Saturday in opposition to police brutality and in support of Black Lives Matter, a movement that has swept the nation amid the recent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, and many others.

Before Bottoms’ announcement, the Georgia NAACP had called for Shields to resign from her duties, according to The Washington Post.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) announced Saturday that the Atlanta Police Department (APD) requested the bureau to investigate the shooting of Brooks. 

Updated 7:00 p.m.

Tags Atlanta police department drive-thru Georgia Keisha Lance Bottoms Police killing police shooting Wendy's

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