Atlanta police officer sacked after black man shot dead outside restaurant

An Atlanta police officer has been sacked following the fatal shooting of a black man outside a drive-through restaurant who had fallen asleep in his car.

Rayshard Brooks – a 27-year-old father – was shot in the car park of a Wendy’s in the US city on Friday night and later died in hospital.

Garrett Rolfe, a six-year veteran of the Atlanta police department, was dismissed, and a second officer, Devin Bronsan, who was hired in September 2018, was placed on administrative leave for their involvement in the death of Mr Brooks, police spokesperson Sergeant John Chafee said.

Rayshard Brooks was shot by police in Atlanta. Pic: Facebook
Image:Rayshard Brooks was shot by police in Atlanta. Pic: Facebook

Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields had earlier resigned.

Investigators said Mr Brooks had grabbed an officer’s Taser during a struggle before being shot.

The force said officers were called to the scene after receiving reports of a man sleeping in his car and blocking other drivers.

Police also released body camera and dash cam footage of the incident which does not show the moment Mr Brooks was shot.

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The Georgia Bureau of Investigation, which is investigating the shooting, said Mr Brooks had failed a test to assess whether he was driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and then resisted officers’ attempts to arrest him.

The shooting sparked protests in the city and the Wendy’s restaurant was set on fire on Saturday night.

Wendy's in Atlanta is on fire after Rayshard Brooks was shot by police in the car park

Wendy’s in Atlanta was on fire on Saturday night
A protester watches as a Wendy’s burns following a rally against racial inequality and the police shooting death of Rayshard Brooks, in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. June 13, 2020. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage
Image:A protester watched as the restaurant burned in Atlanta

Footage showed small fires around the car park before another blaze appeared to start at an entrance to the restaurant, gradually engulfing most of the building.

Atlanta’s mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said: “I do not believe that this was a justified use of deadly force.

“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.”

The people of America are saying they've had enough - this time it feels different

The people of America are saying they’ve had enough – this time it feels different

Ms Shields said: “Out of a deep and abiding love for this city and this department, I offered to step aside as police chief.

“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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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 is quoted in a report 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.”

Why George Floyd's death could be a tipping point

Why George Floyd’s death could be a tipping point

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.”

An investigation into the shooting has also been launched by the county district attorney’s office.

It comes amid widespread protests in the US and other countries against police brutality and racism.

The demonstrations 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.

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Mark Gibson

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

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