Atlanta restaurant set on fire amid protests after black man shot dead by police

Atlanta’s police chief has resigned after a black man was fatally shot by officers in a restaurant car park.

Investigators said 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks had grabbed an officer’s Taser during a struggle before being shot on Friday.

The resignation of police chief Erika Shields was announced on Saturday by Atlanta’s mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.

Why George Floyd's death could be a tipping point

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Ms Bottoms said: “I do not believe that this was a justified use of deadly force and have called for the immediate termination of the officer.

“Chief Shields has offered to immediately step aside as police chief so that the city may move forward with urgency in rebuilding the trust desperately needed in our communities.”

Ms Shields said she had decided to step down as “it is time for the city to move forward”.

“Out of a deep and abiding love for this city and this department, I offered to step aside as police chief,” she said in a statement. “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.”

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She will be replaced by interim corrections chief Rodney Bryant until a permanent replacement is found.

The shooting is being investigated by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, which said Mr Brooks had failed a sobriety test and then resisted officers’ attempts to arrest him.

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It had started late on Friday night when police were called to reports of a man sleeping in a car and blocking a drive-thru lane at a Wendy’s restaurant.

The bureau’s director, Vic Reynolds, said Mr Brooks had grabbed a Taser from one officer and pointed it towards him as he ran.

After running a short distance, Mr Brooks “turns around and it appears to the eye that he points the Taser at the Atlanta officer”, Mr Reynolds said, in comments reported by NBC.

“At that point, the Atlanta officer reaches down and retrieves his weapon from his holster, discharges it, strikes Mr Brooks there on the parking lot, and he goes down.”

Mr Reynolds said: “In a circumstance like this where an officer is involved in the use of deadly force, the public has a right to know what happened.”

It comes amid widespread protests in the US, and worldwide, against police brutality and racism.

These were inspired by the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a white police officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes in Minneapolis on 25 May.

Race and Revolution: Is Change Going to Come?

Sky News will broadcast a global debate show on Tuesday night at 8pm – looking at the issues raised by the Black Lives Matter protests, and examining institutional racism and how we fix it.

If you would like to be part of our virtual audience, and have a chance of putting a question to our panel, please send your name, location and question to newsdebates@sky.uk

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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