An Atlanta Wendy’s was burned down after a Black man was shot and killed by police who had called to investigate him being asleep at the wheel in the restaurant’s drive-thru.
The eatery was torched on Saturday night, a day after Rayshard Brooks killed in a confrontation with Atlanta Police officers.
By the afternoon following the shooting, which occurred around 11:20 p.m. on June 12, protesters had begun gathering at the site to express their outrage over Brooks’ death. It is unclear how the fire started, but a witness believes an unidentified white woman contributed to the blaze. A video posted by Twitter user IAmKingFola shows a white woman who appears to be pouring an accelerant into the damaged building.
Eventually, the fire engulfed the entire restaurant. No one was inside when the building went up in flames. On Sunday, APD published photos of a masked woman on its Facebook page and asked for help identifying her.
Protesters also occupied a stretch of interstate near the Wendy’s for a time Saturday night, causing the highway to be completely shut down.
Brooks’ fatal encounter with police began when APD got calls Friday night about a person asleep at the wheel in the drive-thru at the now-destroyed Wendy’s. After officers Devin Brosnan and Garrett Rolfe made contact with Brooks, they performed a sobriety test and he reportedly failed. As the officers attempted to arrest him Brooks began to struggle.
On early Sunday morning, Atlanta Police released video footage from the officers’ body cameras and dash cams. The body camera footage shows Brooks calmly talking to the officers and consenting to sobriety testing. The interaction was peaceful until Brosnan and Rolfe tried to arrest Brooks.
The dash cam video shows Brooks tussling with officers as they try to cuff him. The cops pull out tasers to subdue Brooks, but he managed to grab one of the tasers before he took off running across the parking lot. As he ran away, he briefly pointed the taser at the officers before three gunshots rang out. Brooks was later pronounced dead at a local hospital.
Rolfe, who fired the fatal shots, was terminated, and Brosnan was placed on administrative duty. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is leading the investigation of Brooks’ death.
On Saturday, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields had resigned from her post. Bottoms criticized the officers involved in the shooting.
“While there may be debate as to whether this was an appropriate use of deadly force, I firmly believe that there is a distinction between what you can do and what you should do,” Bottoms said.
Shields confirmed the development in her own statement.
“For more than two decades, I have served alongside some of the finest men and women in the Atlanta Police Department (APD),” Shields said. “Out of a deep and abiding love for this city and this department, I offered to step aside as police chief.”