On Friday, an African-American man, Rayshard Brooks, 27, was killed by Atlanta police at a Wendy’s drive-thru.
According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, officers found Brooks asleep in his car, which was parked in the drive-thru. After Brooks failed a sobriety test, police attempted to arrest him, but he “resisted and a struggle ensued.”
The statement continued, “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.”
The GBI revealed more details after reviewing surveillance video and social media videos. After further examination, they said, “During a physical struggle with officers, Brooks obtained one of the officer's Tasers and began to flee from the scene. Officers pursued Brooks on foot and during the chase, Brooks turned and pointed the Taser at the officer. The officer fired his weapon, striking Brooks.”
Brooks was taken to a hospital, but died from his injuries.
According to Brooks’ autopsy, he suffered two gunshot wounds to his back and died of organ injuries and blood loss. His death has been listed as a homicide.
Following the shooting, officer Garrett Rolfe was fired, while officer Devin Brosnan was placed on administration duty.
Atlanta’s police chief, Erika Shields, has also resigned. In a statement, Shields said, "I have faith in the mayor, and it is time for the city to move forward and build trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve."
In a press conference, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms expressed her disapproval of what happened. She noted, “While there may be debate as to whether this was an appropriate use of deadly force, I firmly believe that there is a clear distinction between what you can do and what you should do. I do not believe that this was a justified use of deadly force."
Brooks’ wife Tomika Miller fell to her knees when she heard the news of his killing. She told CBS News, “It was murder — that was not justified. He was shot running away. He wasn't dangerous. He wasn't coming at them in any kind of way to where they felt a threat. They shouldn't have felt threatened."
“I want them to go to jail," Miller commented about the officers involved. "I want them to deal with the same things as if it was my husband who killed somebody else. If it was my husband who shot them, he would be in jail. He would be doing a life sentence."
According to Brooks’ family attorney, L. Chris Stewart, Brooks was planning to take his 8-year-old daughter skating for her birthday, but never made it home. He said, “She had her birthday dress on. She was waiting for her dad to come pick her up and take her skating.”
Brooks leaves behind three daughters.
After the shooting, crowds gathered to protest his death. FOX5 Atlanta reported that the Wendy’s where Brooks died was also set ablaze. Atlanta police are looking for a white female suspect who was captured on video, wearing a mask, appearing to set the fire.
Many big names, including Kim Kardashian, T.I. and Justin Timberlake, expressed their outrage over Brooks’ death.
Kim tweeted, “Justice for the Murder of Rayshard Brooks. Please sign this petition to spread awareness for the murder of Rayshard Brooks #JusticeForRayshardBrooks.”
At an Atlanta protest, T.I. told the crowd, “I don’t give a damn what your opinion is of the person. I don’t give a damn what he did. The man didn’t deserve to die like that. And any policeman out here who stands behind that shit your ass in trouble too.”
He insisted, “We are going to have to organize. We’re going to have to demonstrate but we are going to have to do it with purpose. And when I say purpose, I mean direction. We’ve got to go where we need to go and do what we need to do in those areas.”
T.I. also made a trip to the Wendy’s where Brooks was gunned down. In a video posted by Atlanta TV station 11Alive, he told protesters, “I know we do a lot of talking about what separates us, I know we do a lot of talking about how far we have to go, but let’s talk about what we’ve done. Let’s talk about what we’ve done in such a short period of time. We have forced them to acknowledge the pain that has existed for years and years. We have forced them to take into account and consider what we’re going through ever since they brought us to this country. We have forced them to now be considerate of our lives, our liberties, and we can’t let up off the gas.”
On Instagram, Timberlake shared a photo of Brooks, saying, “As a dad, this photo hurts. #RayshardBrooks was a father of three girls... 1, 2 and 8 years old. He should not be dead."
Also mentioning the deaths of Riah Milton, Dominique Fells, and Robert Fuller, Timberlake reiterated, “This week, these four innocent people became victims of racism, violence, and intolerance. And we’re still waiting for Justice for #BreonnaTaylor. I’m heartbroken for their families and for this country.”
Bruno Mars also noted that he was “sick” after hearing about Brooks’ killing. Criticizing the police, he tweeted, “They could’ve easily called someone to take him home and protect his life instead of shooting him in the back like some chumps. I’m sick.”
Billie Eilish was “f**king angry” after seeing video of Brooks being killed. Along with posting footage, she wrote on Instagram, “man F**k. watching this video made me so f**king angry. F**k THIS S**T. JUSTICE FOR RAYSHARD BROOKS. F**k THIS SH******T. #justiceforrayshard !!!! WHY ISNT EVERYONE TALKING ABOUT THIS??"
Billie’s brother Finneas also wrote, “Justice for Rayshard. This is so f**ked up man. And such a good example of EXACTLY what’s so f**ked up about the police in America. Asleep in his car in a parking lot. Shot to death. Don’t let yourself be numb to this. Don’t let the world stay this way.”