Just yesterday, June 14th, a black man was shot by a white police officer, this time in Atlanta, Georgia; adding fuel to the fire on racism in the US. This was after the resignation of the city’s police chief and another round of street protests.
The young 27 year old Rayshard Brooks was murdered in a Wendy’s restaurant on Saturday, setting off hundreds of people to march to protest his murder. The restaurant was later was set on fire.
Brooks’ fatal encounter with police that was recorded on video and surveillance cameras is the latest in a string of incidents that led to nationwide protests over police brutality.
At a news conference on Saturday, the announcement that Police Chief Erika Shields had decided to resign was released by Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.
Bottoms said “I do not believe this was a justified use of deadly force.” Garrett Rolfe was identified as the officer who shot Brooks and he was dismissed shortly after.
Unbelievable shock, outrage, and dismay were expressed on the death of Brooks, in a country that is still outraged over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man in Minneapolis, Minnesota, a mere 21 days before on May 25th.
An African American member of the Congress from South Carolina, James Clyburn, said he was incensed.
“This did not call for lethal force. And I don’t know what’s in the culture that would make this guy do that. It has got to be the culture. It’s got to be the system,” he said, speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union” program.
Lawmakers are debating how a judicial system seen by critics as biased against poor and minority citizens should be changed, as latest protests come in, as it is seen that the system has staunchly resisted reformation thus far.
As a rallying cry “defund the police” has been taken up by some activists on the left, one that US President Donald Trump has jumped on to use as a cudgel against Joe Biden, his Democratic rival in the race towards presidency.
Advocating increased funding for community policing is Biden’s way, instead of supporting the party’s rally for the defund movement.
Somali-American congresswoman from Minnesota, Ilhan Omar, has called Biden’s idea “ludicrous” and supports the idea of dismantling troubled police forces in places like Minneapolis, her hometown, and rebuilding them from scratch.
Clyburn, the third-ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives says “nobody is going to defund the police.”
“The fact of the matter is, the police have a role to play,” he said. “What we have got to do is make sure that their role is one that meets the times, one that responds to these communities that they operate in”.
Authorities in Atlanta have pledged a full investigation into Brooks’ death.
A complaint that Brooks was asleep in his car which was blocking the drive-in lane at the Wendy’s restaurant, sparked the incident that began as police responded.
When the officers tried to arrest Brooks after he allegedly failed a sobriety test, a scuffle apparently broke out.
Two white police officers were wrestling with Brooks to the ground in the parking lot according to a video released on social media.
The video images showed one officer attempting to use a Taser on Brooks, but he managed to grab the stun gun and escape.
A restaurant surveillance video was released by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation that probes police-involved killings, that showed Brooks turned and appeared to fire the Taser at the officers.
GBI director Vic Reynolds told reporters that an officer reached for his service weapon when “the weapon goes off” as Brooks turns back.
The GBI said, Brooks died after surgery in the hospital, adding that an officer was injured during the incident.
Disproportionate force was used in the confrontation according to an attorney acting for the dead man’s family said.
According to local newspaper Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the shooting of Rayshard Brooks is the 48th shooting involving an officer that the GBI has been asked to investigate this year.
15th June 19:30
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