Protesters marched through the US city of Atlanta on Monday to demand police reform after the death of a black man shot dead by a white police officer, who has rekindled anger and open wounds since the murder of George Floyd.
“We don’t want to die any more,” said the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), which had called to demonstrate outside the Georgia State Capitol in this southern US city.
The civil rights organization called for “criminal justice reform” to “end police violence against our communities”.
Rayshard Brooks, 27, died Friday evening, less than three weeks after the death of another African-American, George Floyd, asphyxiated on May 25 under the knee of a white policeman in Minneapolis, in the north of the country, in a blunder that sparked a wave of historic anti-racist protests across the United States.
According to an official report on the events in Atlanta, this young man had fallen asleep, drunk, in his car on the driveway of a restaurant, whose employees called the police because he blocked access to customers.
” Dehumanisation “
Pictures show a fight between two white officers who wanted to arrest him and Rayshard Brooks, who takes one of the police’s taser guns and flees.
But while, according to the official version, he “pointed the Taser at the officer who used his weapon”, the images show that his back is turned to the police officer when he is injured. He died soon after in the hospital.
“I want them to go to jail,” said his widow, Tomika Miller, on CBS. “If it was my husband who killed them, he would have taken life. “
At a press conference, she then called on protesters to remain “peaceful.” “We want her name to be associated with something positive,” she said, in tears.
According to his lawyer, Justin Miller, police officer Garrett Rolfe “could have chosen other options that would not have resulted in his death.”
A member of the Democratic Party in Georgia, Stacey Abrams called the police officer’s “murder”. This drama results from “a kind of dehumanization of Rayshard Brooks”, said on CNN this ex-elected African-American who is one of the women approached by the Democratic candidate for the White House Joe Biden to be his running mate for the vice- presidency.
The autopsy confirmed that he died of two bullets in the back.
The policeman was sacked, while the Atlanta police chief resigned.
Local prosecutor Paul Howard said he plans to charge him by the end of the week, and visited the widow.
“I want her to know, along with the other protesters, that we are hearing them,” he said.
“Obviously, there are racial prejudices in the police services in this country, it does not help to put one’s head in the sand and to say that they are only isolated individuals”, a- he hammered, echoing the Black Lives Matter movement which saw tens of thousands of people march through American cities to demand structural reforms.
The wave of anger against police violence and racism has spread to many other countries.
In the United States, protesters are calling for an end to “qualified immunity”, a legal concept that limits the ability to prosecute agents in federal courts. Called to intervene, the Supreme Court refused Monday to examine this doctrine.
Since the start of the movement, President Donald Trump has been very elusive about responding to demands. And he has yet to comment on what happened in Atlanta.
With less than five months to run for a second term, he hammered his promise to uphold “law and order”, as he tweeted again in capital letters on Monday.
Across the country, local initiatives are increasing.
Chicago Democrat Mayor Lori Lightfoot, herself an African American, announced Monday the creation of a task force to review the rules of engagement for local police.
Several cities have already taken steps to ban controversial policing practices, such as choking. Marked alive, Minneapolis went further by announcing a dismantling of its police department, to overhaul the whole system.