The police chief in the US city of Atlanta resigned after an officer fatally shot a black man during an arrest, the mayor said Saturday, with the new killing injecting fresh anger into protests against racism and police brutality.
Images on local media showed hundreds of protesters in the streets on Saturday and flames engulfing a Wendy’s restaurant where 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks was killed.
The officer who shot Brooks was dismissed Saturday and identified by Atlanta police as Garrett Rolfe. The second officer was placed on administrative duty, according to ABC News.
In televised comments made earlier in the day, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said that Shields, with more than two decades of experience in the force, “has offered to immediately step aside as police chief.”
Demonstrators were out on the streets before night fell Saturday, with one group blocking a highway near the Wendy’s restaurant and facing off with police.
Dozens of protesters were arrested, CNN quoted the Atlanta police as saying.
The unrest comes as the US faces a historic reckoning on systemic racism, with mass civil unrest ignited by the May 25 killing of another African-American man, George Floyd, while in police custody.
Floyd died after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
Protests which spread first around the country then the globe, have forced a conversation on the legacies of slavery, colonialism, and white violence against people of color, as well as the militarization of police in America.
Georgia has been hit hard by these protests. A black man, Ahmaud Arbery, was killed in the state’s southwest by one of three white men who chased him down in pickup trucks while he was out jogging in February.
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