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Rayshard Brooks’ family want justice over Atlanta shooting

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

The family of an African-American man whose death reignited protests in the US city of Atlanta has called for ‘drastic change’ in policing.

The family of an African-American man whose death reignited protests in the US city of Atlanta has called for "drastic change" in policing and justice for their relative.

Rayshard Brooks, 27, died on the weekend after a police officer shot him twice in the back, the latest killing to fuel nationwide outrage against police brutality and racial injustice.

The Fulton County Medical Examiner's office ruled Brooks' death a homicide, and his cousin Tiara Brooks called for the shooter to be prosecuted.

READ MORE: Coroner says Atlanta shooting a homicide

"We're tired and we are frustrated. Most importantly we're heartbroken, so we need justice for Rayshard Brooks," she told a news conference on Monday.

"The trust that we have in the police force is broken. The only way to heal some of these wounds is through a conviction and a drastic change in the police department."

Tomika MillerTiara Brooks

Brooks' fatal encounter with the police came after officers responded to a call that he had fallen asleep in his car in a Wendy's restaurant drive-through lane.

Caught on video, the encounter seemed friendly at first but when an officer moved to arrest him, Brooks struggled with him and another officer at the scene before breaking away across the parking lot with what appeared to be a police Taser in his hand.

A video from the restaurant's cameras shows Brooks turning as he runs and possibly aiming the Taser at the pursuing officers, both white, before one of them fires his gun and Brooks falls.

READ MORE: Atlanta police release bodycam video of officer shooting black man 'found sleeping in own car'

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Lawyer for Brooks' family Chris Stewart said the police should have let Brooks walk home rather than pursuing and shooting him.

"It didn't have to go to that level," he said. "Where is the empathy in just letting him walk home?"

Atlanta's police chief Erika Shields resigned over the shooting. The officer suspected of killing Brooks was fired, and the other officer involved in the incident was put on administrative leave.

Prosecutors will decide by midweek whether to bring charges, Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said on Sunday.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Bottoms said she would issue a series of administrative orders to accelerate a review of policing in the wake of the shooting.

Several members of Rayshard Brooks' family attended Monday's news conference in tears, and spoke of a warm family man who loved to take his daughter skating.

One man left the room during the briefing in hysterics, shouting "Somebody took my cousin!"

Gymaco Brooks

Brooks' death reignited protests in Atlanta after days of worldwide demonstrations against racism and police brutality prompted by the death of George Floyd, who was killed when a Minneapolis policeman knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes on May 25.

Brooks' widow Tomika Miller implored the public to protest peacefully in her husband's name.

"We want to keep his name positive," she said.

– Reported with AAP

Source: 9News

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