Protests erupted in Atlanta in the state of Georgia on Saturday after a video emerged showing the fatal police shooting of Rayshard Brooks who had fallen asleep in his car at a Wendy’s fast-food restaurant drive-thru line and who the officers wanted to take a sobriety test because he was suspected of being intoxicated.
Brooks was shot in the restaurant’s parking lot on Friday night after he allegedly scuffled with police officers. The incident was caught on tape.
The Wendy’s surveillance video didn’t show the scuffle, but showed the victim running away from where police cars were parked.
Police said he resisted arrest and fled while grabbing a taser from one of the officers and was therefore shot to death.
On Saturday night angry protesters shut down a major highway and set fire to the restaurant where Brooks was shot dead by a white police officer. Protesters also set fire to automobiles near the restaurant. Police fired tear gas at the protesters.
New footage showed Atlanta police officer attempting to arrest Brooks, who was suspected of being intoxicated, before shooting him following a struggle.
In the bodycam video, an officer spoke with Brooks, who was sitting in the driver’s seat of his vehicle parked outside the restaurant.
The Atlanta police officer who shot and killed Brooks has been fired, Atlanta police spokesman Carlos Campos said.
“I do not believe that this was a justified use of deadly force and have called for the immediate termination of the officer,” Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said at a news conference.
Atlanta police chief also resigned over the incident.
This comes amid ongoing protests over the murder of unarmed African American George Floyd in the city of Minneapolis nearly three weeks ago.
Protests have been held across the US in response to the killing of Floyd, who died after a white police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes in Minneapolis on May 25.
A video of the incident shows Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes as the 46-year-old was in handcuffs. “Please, please, I cannot breathe,” Floyd can be heard in the video as Chauvin continues to kneel on his neck.
His death has reignited long-felt anger over police killings of African Americans and unleashed a nationwide wave of civil unrest unlike any seen in the United States since Martin Luther King Jr’s 1968 assassination.
It has also posed Donald Trump with one of the greatest challenges of his tumultuous presidency. Trump called on states to crack down on the protests and warned he could use military forces if states did not quell protests.
Millions of demonstrators worldwide have also called for an end to US police brutality and racial profiling against African Americans.