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US policeman fired over fatal shooting of black man asleep in car

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

The moves follows the resignation of Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields, who stepped down after Rayshard Brooks, 27, was killed on Friday.

An Atlanta police officer has been fired following the fatal shooting of a black man, and another officer was placed on administrative duty, the police department announced early Sunday.

The moves follows the resignation of Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields, who stepped down after Rayshard Brooks, 27, was killed on Friday evening local time.

The fatal arrest sparked a new wave of protests in Atlanta after the turbulent demonstrations that followed the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis had begun to simmer down.

The terminated officer was identified as Garrett Rolfe, who was hired in October 2013, and the officer placed on administrative duty is Devin Bronsan, who was hired in September 2018, according to a release from police spokesperson Sgt. John Chafee.

The police department also released body camera and dash camera footage from both officers.

Protesters on Saturday night set fire to the Wendy's restaurant where Brooks was fatally shot the night before and blocked traffic on a nearby highway, although the fire was out by 11.30pm.

Protesters set fire to a Wendy's restaurant  in Atlanta where Rayshard Brooks was shot and killed by police following a struggle in the restaurant's drive-thru line.

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.

She said it was Shields' own decision to step aside as police chief and that she would remain with the city in an undetermined role. Interim Corrections Chief Rodney Bryant would serve as interim police chief until a permanent replacement is found.

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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-through lane.

The GBI said Mr Brooks failed a field sobriety test and then resisted officers' attempts to arrest him.

The footage shows a man running from two 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 Mr Brooks had grabbed a Taser from one of the officers and appeared to point it at the officer as he fled, prompting the officer to reach for his gun.

"In a circumstance like this where an officer is involved in the use of deadly force, the public has a right to know what happened," GBI Director Vic Reynolds told a news conference on a day when protesters gathered at the scene of the shooting and in other areas of Atlanta.

The security camera video does not show Mr Brooks' the initial struggle with police.

The shooting came at a time of heightened tension over police brutality and calls for reforms across the US following the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Atlanta was among US cities where large crowds of protesters took to the streets.

A crowd of demonstrators gathered today outside the Atlanta restaurant where Brooks was shot.

Gerald Griggs, an attorney and a vice president of Atlanta's NAACP chapter, estimated there were 150 people protesting at the scene as he walked with them this afternoon.

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"The people are upset," Mr Griggs said.

"They want to know why their dear brother Rayshard Brooks was shot and killed when he was merely asleep on the passenger side and not doing anything."

Even though Mr Brooks struggled with officers, Mr Griggs said, "they could have used nonlethal force to take him down".

Mr Reynolds said his agents worked through the night interviewing witnesses and reviewing video.

The results of the investigation will be handed to Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard, whose office will decide whether criminal charges are warranted against either of the officers.

Mr Howard said today his office had already gotten involved.

"My office has already launched an intense, independent investigation of the incident," Mr Howard said in a statement, saying members of his staff "were on scene shortly after the shooting, and we have been in investigative sessions ever since to identify all of the facts and circumstances surrounding this incident".

Stacey Abrams, the Georgia Democrat who gained national prominence running for governor in 2018, tweeted today of the shooting that "sleeping in a drive-thru must not end in death".

"The killing of #RayshardBrooks in Atlanta last night demands we severely restrict the use of deadly force," Ms Abrams' tweet said.

"Yes, investigations must be called for – but so too should accountability."

Mr Brooks died after being taken to an Atlanta hospital. One of the officers was treated and released for unspecified injuries.

Source: 9News

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