New Atlanta drama rekindles anti-racism protesters’ anger

Atlanta police chief resigned after the death of a black man, who was shot dead by a white agent during his arrest, a case that sparked anger among protesters in the United States, while mobilizing against racism continued around the world on Sunday.

• Read also: American police between shame and defensive posture after the death of George Floyd

• Read also: Atlanta police chief resigns after fatal incident

Hundreds of protesters blocked a highway Saturday in the state capital of Georgia and torched a restaurant near which Rayshard Brooks was fatally injured by a police officer. Dozens of people were arrested, according to CNN, citing the city’s police.

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, whose name has been put forward as that of a possible running mate for Democrat Joe Biden for the presidential election in November, has announced the “immediate” resignation of Erika Shields, who headed the Atlanta police For more than 20 years.

The death of Rayshard Brooks occurred Friday night amid continued protests against police violence and racism in the United States and other countries, following the death in late May of George Floyd, an African-American who perished asphyxiated by a white police officer in Minneapolis.

“Legitimate” anger

Rayshard Brooks, 27, fell asleep in his car on the drive-in aisle of a restaurant in the Wendy’s fast-food chain, according to an official report, and facility staff called the police because that his vehicle was blocking customers.

The man was drunk and resisted when two white police tried to arrest him, says the Georgia State Investigation Bureau (GBI).

Images of the incident, made public by police on Sunday, show a fight between officers and the suspect, who manages to grab one of the police’s taser and flees.

But while the GBI claims that Mr. Brooks “turned around and pointed the Taser at the officer who used his weapon,” the footage shows the suspect’s back to the police officer when he is shot.

Transported to a hospital and operated, he died soon after, specify the investigators, according to whom an agent was injured.

The shooting officer, Garrett Rolfe, was fired from the Atlanta police and the second officer involved was assigned to administrative duties, reported ABC News.

A lawyer acting on behalf of the victim’s family, Chris Stewart, condemned the disproportionate use of force.

“In Georgia, a Taser is not a deadly weapon (…) There were other options than shooting him in the back,” he told reporters.

Rayshard Brooks, father of four, celebrated his daughter’s eighth birthday the same day, according to the lawyer.

African-American ex-Georgia Stacey Abrams, another potential running mate for Joe Biden, said on Sunday that the protesters’ anger was “legitimate”.

“A man was killed because he was sleeping in an alley and we know it was not an isolated incident,” she said.

This is the 48th shooting case involving a police officer that the GBI has been investigating since the start of the year, according to local daily Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Fifteen of these shootings were fatal.

Human chain in Berlin

In Europe, the day after demonstrations against racism in France, Great Britain or Switzerland, it was the Germans who took to the streets on Sunday, notably forming a human chain in Berlin, while respecting social distancing to avoid a spread of coronavirus.

• Read also: [PHOTOS] In Berlin, a human chain respecting social distancing against racism

In his first reaction to the wave of protest actions on American territory, Russian President Vladimir Putin considered that they were the expression of “deep internal crises”, but that they should not be transformed “into mayhem and riots ”.

In France, Human Rights Watch called on President Emmanuel Macron to announce “concrete reforms” in order to put an end to “abusive and discriminatory identity checks” and “racism within the police.”

In this context, the statue of a famous Italian journalist, Indro Montanelli, was degraded and defiled on Saturday evening by strangers in a garden in Milan. The inscription “racist, rapist” was tagged with black paint on the base of this monument.

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