Atlanta police chief, Erika Shields has resigned amid backlash over the fatal shooting of a black man by a white officer during a struggle.
Atlanta Mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms announced on Saturday at a press conference that the city’s police chief had submitted her resignation after roughly 150 protesters marched outside Wendy’s restaurant where Rayshard Brooks, 27, was fatally shot late Friday.
Bottoms said it was Police Chief Erika Shields’ own decision to resign from the role, which she took in 2016. According to Bottoms, she will remain with the city in an undetermined position.
The mayor also said she called for the immediate firing of the officer who opened fire at Brooks.
“Because of her desire that Atlanta be a model of what meaningful 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 and rebuilding the trust so desperately needed throughout our communities,” Bottoms said.
Interim Corrections Chief Rodney Bryant will serve as interim police chief until a permanent replacement is found.
Rayshard Brooks, 27, was shot during a struggle and died after surgery at a local hospital, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
Brooks had been asleep in his car in a Wendy’s drive-thru, causing other customers to drive around the car, the Bureau of Investigation said. Police were dispatched to the Wendy’s around 10:30 p.m. and conducted a sobriety test on Brooks, who failed the test, according to the officials.
“During the arrest, the male subject resisted and a struggle ensued,” the Bureau of Investigation said. “The officer deployed a Taser. Witnesses report that during the struggle the male subject grabbed and was in possession of the Taser. It has also been reported that the male subject was shot by an officer in the struggle over the Taser.”
In a video captured by a man from his car, Rayshard is seen struggling on the ground with two police officers over the Taser. As he stood up and started running away, both cops chased him from behind before one of them fired three-times at Rayshard.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation later released a surveillance video which captured the officer who fired three shots to Rayshard’s back until he collapsed to the ground.
The Bureau of Investigation is conducting an independent investigation, which will be turned over to the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office for review.
Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard, Jr. said in a statement Saturday that his office had already launched an “intense, independent” investigation of the incident, and that members of his office were on the scene shortly after the shooting.
“Our thoughts and our sympathies are extended to the family of Rayshard Brooks as we must not forget that this investigation is centered upon a loss of life,” Howard said.
The latest incident comes amid a series of protests against police brutality and racial discrimination. The mass protests were triggered by the death of George Floyd, a Black man who was killed as a white Minneapolis police officer held his knee into Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes.
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