A new wave of protests against police brutality has emerged in the wake of a fatal police shooting in Atlanta. Rayshard Brooks, a 27-year-old African-American man, was shot and killed by Garrett Rolfe, a white Atlanta Police officer, on Friday night after fleeing an altercation with police at a Wendy’s restaurant. Brooks had been asleep in the drive-thru lane.

Following Brooks’ death, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms condemned the shooting. New protests began in Atlanta on Saturday following the mass nationwide demonstrations in recent days after George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis. On Saturday, Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields resigned from her position and Rolfe, who reportedly was sworn in as an officer in 2013, was fired from the department. Another officer involved in the shooting, Devin Brosnan, was placed on administrative leave.

“There has been a disconnect with what our expectations are and should be as it relates with interactions with our officers and the communities in which they are entrusted to protect,” Bottoms said on Saturday. “Chief Erika Shields have been a solid member of APD for over two decades and has a deep and abiding love for the people of Atlanta. And because of her desire that Atlanta be a model of what meaningful reform should look like across this country, Chief Shields has offered to immediately step aside as police chief so that the city may move forward with urgency in rebuilding the trust so desperately needed throughout our communities.”

Deputy Chief Rodney Bryant is the APD's interim chief of police.

Protests in Atlanta centered around the Wendy’s restaurant where the incident took place. Officials from the Atlanta police and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation were still on the scene conducting their investigation when the demonstrations started. Brooks reportedly had failed a field sobriety test and grabbed a police taser during the altercation.

The ongoing conversations about police brutality have led many to condemn the situation as yet another example of police employing disproportionate force on people of color.

“While there may be debate as to whether this was an appropriate use of deadly force, I firmly believe that there is a clear distinction between what you can do and what you should do,” Bottoms said in her statement on the situation. “I do not believe that this was a justified use of deadly force and have called for the immediate termination of the officer.”

L. Chris Stewart, the attorney representing Brooks’ family, has called for Rolfe to be charged with unjustified use of deadly force, a charge which he claimed “equals murder.”

“You can’t have it both ways in law enforcement,” Stewart said. “You can’t say a Taser is a nonlethal weapon … but when an African-American grabs it and runs with it, now it’s some kind of deadly, lethal weapon that calls for you to unload on somebody.”

Brooks was married and had three daughters ages 8, 2, and 1, as well as a 13-year-old stepson. The family had been preparing to celebrate his oldest daughter’s eighth birthday the day after his death.

Protests like this one from June 9 have roiled Atlanta since the death of George Floyd
Protests like this one from June 9 have roiled Atlanta since the death of George Floyd GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Elijah Nouvelage