The head of the Atlanta Police Department, Erica Shields, has resigned. This happened less than a day after an African-American man, Rayshard Brooks, was shot dead by a police officer after a scuffle. This incident provoked new protests in the city against police violence against African-Americans.
Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced the resignation of the police chief. According to her, Erica Shields filed her resignation report on Saturday. Shortly before that, demonstrators calling for an investigation into the death of Rayshard Brooks at the hands of a police officer blocked a major highway passing through the city.
Later, the demonstrations turned into riots. Protesters set fire to the fast-food restaurant where Brooks was shot. The police, in turn, fired tear gas.
Shields has been the head of the Atlanta Police Department since December 2016. In total, she worked in the city police in various positions for more than 20 years. The mayor of the city noted that, despite resigning as head of the Department, shields would continue to work in the city police — only in another position.
“Shields wants Atlanta to become an example for the entire country of what significant reform [of the police]. Therefore, she asked to be immediately relieved of her post and thus allow the city to move on and restore the lost confidence [in the authorities],” the mayor said in a statement.
Also, bottoms called for the firing of the police officer who shot Rayshard Brooks.
Rayshard Brooks was shot and killed Friday night. Officially, the investigation into his death has not yet been completed — Georgia state investigators are handling it. In particular, they are studying the recording from the dashcam of the police officer who fired the fatal shot, and the tapes from surveillance cameras.
The incident occurred near a fast-food restaurant. According to the city police, the team was called by the restaurant staff. They complained that the driver of one of the cars standing in line at the order window fell asleep at the wheel and interfered with the passage of other vehicles.
The driver who fell asleep was 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks. According to police, he failed a breathalyzer test, and then resisted the police. The video, taken by eyewitnesses, shows Brooks struggling with two police officers, after which he takes a Taser from one of them and runs into the restaurant building.
In the preliminary report of investigators, it is said that further events are already captured by the video recorder of the police officer who chased Brooks. It shows the suspect turning around and aiming a Taser at a police officer, who then shoots Brooks.
When the ambulance arrived, Brooks was still alive, but doctors were unable to save him. He died in the hospital.
According to ABC, this is at least the 48th case of police use of firearms in the state of Georgia since the beginning of the year. Fifteen of these cases resulted in the death of the suspect.
Brooks ‘ death sparked a new wave of protests in Atlanta against police violence against African-Americans. Before that, the city had already held similar demonstrations related to the end of George Floyd in Minneapolis.