One Atlanta police officer has been fired and another has been reassigned following Friday night’s shooting death of Rayshard Brooks in the parking lot of a fast-food restaurant.
The second officer, identified as Devin Bronsan, was placed on administrative duty, according to the report. Bronsan has been with the department since 2018, a police spokesman told the Associated Press.
Word of the personnel moves came shortly after midnight Sunday, following hours of unrest in Atlanta on Saturday in reaction to the news of Brooks’ death.
The violence included the torching of the Wendy’s hamburger restaurant, where Brooks was shot in the parking lot after grabbing an officer’s stun gun following a struggle. Protesters also blocked traffic on a nearby interstate.
Saturday also saw the city’s police chief, Erika Shields, step down from her position in connection with the shooting, although Shields was expected to remain with the department in another role. Interim Corrections Chief Rodney Bryant would serve as interim police chief until a permanent replacement is found.
The latest protests in Atlanta followed several days and nights of other demonstrations – plus rioting – in the city that followed the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced the police chief’s resignation at a Saturday afternoon news conference, and called for the immediate firing of the officer who opened fire at Brooks.
“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.
“I do not believe that this was a justified use of deadly force and have called for the immediate termination of the officer.”
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation, which is investigating the shooting, said the deadly confrontation started with officers responding to a complaint that a man was sleeping in a car blocking the restaurant’s drive-thru lane. The GBI said Brooks failed a field sobriety test and then resisted officers’ attempts to arrest him.
The GBI released security camera video of the shooting Saturday. The footage shows a man running from two white police officers as he raises a hand, which is holding some type of object, toward an officer a few steps behind him. The officer draws his gun and fires as the man keeps running, then falls to the ground in the parking lot.
GBI Director Vic Reynolds said Brooks had grabbed a stun gun from one of the officers and appeared to point it at the officer as he fled, prompting the officer to reach for his gun and fire an estimated three shots.
The security camera video recorded Brooks “running or fleeing from Atlanta police officers,” Reynolds said. “It appears that he has in his hand a Taser.”
The footage does not show Brooks’ initial struggle with police – although that footage appeared on social media Saturday evening.
L. Chris Stewart, an attorney for Brooks’ family, said the officer who shot him should be charged for “an unjustified use of deadly force, which equals murder.”
“You can’t have it both ways in law enforcement,” Stewart said. “You can’t say a Taser is a nonlethal weapon … but when an African American grabs it and runs with it, now it’s some kind of deadly, lethal weapon that calls for you to unload on somebody.”
“You can’t have it both ways in law enforcement. You can’t say a Taser is a nonlethal weapon … but when an African American grabs it and runs with it, now it’s some kind of deadly, lethal weapon that calls for you to unload on somebody.”
He said Brooks was a father of four and had celebrated a daughter’s eighth birthday Friday before he was killed.
The shooting came at a time of heightened tension over police brutality and calls for reforms across the U.S. following the May 25 death of Floyd in Minneapolis. Atlanta was among U.S. cities where large crowds of protesters took to the streets.
Demonstrators, including members of Brooks’ family, gathered Saturday outside the restaurant where he was shot.
Among those protesting was Crystal Brooks, who said she is Rayshard Brooks’ sister-in-law.
“He wasn’t causing anyone any harm,” she said. “The police went up to the car and even though the car was parked they pulled him out of the car and started tussling with him.”
The Associated Press contributed to this story.