Georgia Authorities Investigate Police-Involved Shooting Death of Man Following Struggle

Georgia authorities are looking into a police-involved shooting in Atlanta that resulted in the death of a 27-year-old man late Friday night.

In a press release from the Georgia Bureau of Investigations (GBI), the department said Saturday that Atlanta police were called to a local Wendy's after the man, later identified as Rayshard Brooks, had reportedly fallen asleep in his car on the way to the drive-thru window, "causing other customers to drive around the vehicle."

After being given a field sobriety test and failing, the arresting officers tried to bring the Brooks into custody, but he "resisted and struggle ensued." Police tried to use a Taser on the man, but witness accounts said the man managed to grab it.

"It has also been reported that the male subject was shot by an officer in the struggle over the Taser," the GBI said.

Brooks was taken to a local hospital where he died following surgery, according to the GBI. An officer was treated for an injury he received during the arrest attempt.

GBI said it will investigate the incident upon a request from the Atlanta Police Department.

Videos of the incident, filmed by a bystander, has since been obtained by TMZ. One video shows Brooks struggling with the officers, running away, and then gunshots are heard. Another shows a man confronting the police after Brooks had been shot.

In an updated press release, the GBI announced that it had obtained surveillance footage from the fast food restaurant. According to the release, the video shows Brooks taking one of the officer's tasers before running away. The press release says that the video shows Brooks turning and pointing the taser at the officer, and the officer shot. The GBI says a copy of the video will be made available to the public.

During a press conference Saturday afternoon, GBI Director Vic Reynolds said that the agency would enhance the surveillance video to better see the incident. He also said that the bureau would "do everything possible to expedite the investigation," and the bureau intended to release the video by the end of the day.

Following the shooting, Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields has resigned Saturday afternoon. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said that the city will be looking for a replacement and also called for the firing of the police officer who shot Brooks. "I do not believe this was a justified use of deadly force and have called for the immediate termination of the officer," Bottoms said at a press conference.

The Atlanta Police Department did not respond to Newsweek's emailed request for comment in time for publication.

The investigation comes in the midst of protests following the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor. Protests have followed the three people's deaths in Atlanta and other major American cities, calling for justice for each of the three cases and stricter police regulations.

Arbery was shot and killed in Georgia, after suspect Gregory McMichael thought that Arbery was a man involved in a series of break-ins, and pursued him with son Travis McMichael. According to BBC, both men involved in Arbery's death are being held in custody.

The men's arrests were delayed due to prosecutor turnover, according to the BBC. An investigation by the GBI has been requested by Atlanta Attorney General Chris Carr.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported that the words "Defund Police" were written on the street outside police headquarters in protest on Wednesday. The protest comes in wake of the nationwide protests following George Floyd's death. According to Fox News, two police officers were fired for excessive use of force with two college students on Wednesday. The officers shouted, used a Taser, and pulled the students from their car during a May 30 encounter.

According to local news outlet 11 Alive, a local activist and attorney, Gerald Griggs, said that a file he obtained from Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard showed 32 officers facing criminal prosecution. In a video posted to his Twitter account, Griggs said that there are 17 police brutality cases pending.

There are 17 high-profiled police brutality cases in Fulton County. Many involving #AtlantaPolice. We need police accountability NOW! #ATLforUs #AtlantaProtests #Protests #Protests2020

— Gerald A. Griggs (@AttorneyGriggs) June 11, 2020

Updated 5:44 p.m. EST: This story has been updated to include the GBI press conference from Saturday afternoon and the resignation of the Atlanta police chief.

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