Atlanta, June 22, 2020 – A public viewing for Rayshard Brooks, the Black man shot in the back by an Atlanta police officer outside a Wendy’s restaurant, is planned for Monday at the city’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, with a private funeral to follow the next day.
Brooks’ June 12 death at the hands of officers who were called to the scene because he had fallen asleep in his car further heightened tensions over police brutality and racism in American policing that had been burning since the killing of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis in late May.
Brooks, 27, was the latest in a long line of unarmed African Americans whose fatal encounters with law enforcement have been documented on video. His funeral, which the family’s lawyer said would be paid for by filmmaker Tyler Perry, will also be streamed on the church’s website.
Police were called to the fast food restaurant after a restaurant employee called police and said that Brooks was asleep in his car in the drive-through lane and appeared intoxicated.
He tussled with officers after failing a sobriety test and apparently ran off with a Taser stun gun from one of the officers. Video shows that Brooks appeared to fire the Taser in the direction of the officers.
Brooks was shot twice in the back, with one round piercing his heart, officials said.
Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard asserted that Brooks was running away at the time of the shooting, was more than 18 feet away and posed no threat.
Surveillance and other videos also appeared to show one officer kicking Brooks and another standing on his shoulders as he lay dying.
The former Atlanta police officer who shot Brooks, Garrett Rolfe, 27, was fired and charged with murder. A second officer, Devin Brosnan, 26, was placed on administrative duty and charged with aggravated assault. The city’s police chief resigned.
The Wendy’s restaurant was burned down after the killing. – Reuters