Law & the Courts

Rioters Burn Atlanta Wendy’s to the Ground following Death of Rayshard Brooks

A Wendy’s burns following a rally against racial inequality and death of Rayshard Brooks, in Atlanta, Ga., June 13, 2020. (Elijah Nouvelage/Reuters)

An Atlanta Wendy’s, the site where Rayshard Brooks was shot and killed by Atlanta police on Friday, was burned to the ground Saturday by an angry mob during protests over Brook’s death.

On Sunday, Atlanta police offered a $10,000 reward for the arrest and indictment of those responsible for starting the fire that destroyed the building. Local Atlanta reporter Alex Whittler captured footage of rioters entering Wendy’s to light a firework inside the building.

The situation escalated after protesters succeeded in blocking the interstate above the Wendy’s where Brooks was killed.

Brooks, who was killed while running from police, was celebrating his daughter’s birthday just hours before his death, Brooks’ family lawyers said. Atlanta police initially responded to a 911 call that reported a suspicious person at Wendy’s on Friday night. The responding officers found Brooks asleep in his car, which was parked in the drive-thru lane and blocking customers, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

After Brooks failed a sobriety test and officers attempted to arrest him, he resisted and tried to escape the scene. Brooks was “running or fleeing from Atlanta police officers,” GBI director Vic Reynolds said after reviewing video footage of the incident. “It appears that he has in his hand a Taser.” Brooks then turned and tried to fire the tazer at the onrushing officer, who then pulled out his gun and shot Brooks.

Following the incident, Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced that Police Chief Erika Shields had stepped down. “I do not believe that this was a justified use of deadly force and have called for the immediate termination of the officer,” Bottoms said at the press conference.

The Atlanta P.D. has terminated Officer Garrett Rolfe, who was with the department for six and a half years, while Officer Devin Brosnan, who has been with the department for less than two years, was placed on administrative duty.

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