Protests and destruction erupted in Atlanta on Saturday night in response to the police-involved shooting death of a 27-year-old man outside a Wendy’s fast-food restaurant.
Television images showed the restaurant on fire around 9:30 p.m. ET as rioters filled the parking lot where Brooks was shot in the back by police after allegedly grabbing a stun gun away from an officer during a struggle.
ATLANTA POLICE CHIEF RESIGNS AMID BACKLASH OVER FATAL SHOOTING OF BLACK MAN
Smaller fires were also seen in the area.
Nearby, protesters were gathering along University Avenue, with Atlanta police blocking access ramps to Interstate 85, apparently to keep the protesters off the roadway, FOX 5 of Atlanta reported.
Earlier Saturday, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced that police Chief Erika Shields had resigned from the top job, though the mayor said Shields would remain with the department.
“I do not believe that this was a justified use of deadly force,” Bottoms said.
Protesters had painted “Defund the police” in the street outside Atlanta police headquarters.
The unrest in Atlanta came as the entire nation continued to be in a state of disruption regarding police relationships with African-Americans and other minority communities following the May 25 death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis.
In the Atlanta incident, police had been called late Friday about a man allegedly sleeping in a car that was blocking a Wendy’s restaurant drive-thru. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation was investigating reports that the man, later identified as Brooks, had failed a sobriety test and was shot in a struggle over the stun gun.
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Stacey Abrams, the Georgia Democrat who gained national prominence running for governor in 2018, tweeted that “sleeping in a drive-thru must not end in death.”
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp issued a statement saying the Georgia Bureau of Investigation has launched a probe of the incident that led to Brooks’s death.
“I am confident GBI Director Vic Reynolds and his team will follow the facts to ensure justice is served,” Kemp wrote.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates. The Associated Press contributed to this story.