ATLANTA – Protests continued along University Avenue Saturday night after a deadly officer-involved shooting at a southwest Atlanta fast-food restaurant Friday night.
Police cars were seen blocking ramps on I-85 Saturday night to prevent protesters from getting onto the interstate.
Police cars lined a portion of I-85 near University Avenue in anticipation of protests Saturday. (Georgia Department of Transportation )
Shortly after 9:30 pm, FOX 5 confirmed Wendy’s restaurant was set on fire.
Fires were seen in and around the Wendy’s restaurant.
Smaller fires were also seen in the area and some fireworks were set off.
At one point Atlanta fire crews appeared to have ended efforts to get the fire under control after reports of firefighters possibly being in danger of being assaulted.
At least 36 arrests were made during Saturday night’s protests.
Lawyers representing the Brooks family, spoke Saturday night.
Attorney L. Chris Stewart said in part, “I don’t say we ever want justice. I don’t even know what that is. And I’ve been doing this for 15 years. Is it getting them arrested? Is it getting someone fired? I know that this isn’t justice, what is happing society right now.”
In a statement, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation says that they have been called in to investigate the shooting. The Fulton County District Attorney’s Office has also launched its own investigation.
Atlanta police units initially responded to a 911 call reporting a suspicious person at Wendy’s around 10:30 p.m. Friday. Officers found a man asleep in his car, parked in the drive-thru lane and blocking customers, according to GBI.
They reportedly conducted a sobriety test, but when they attempted to arrest the man, identified as 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks, a struggle ensued.
Deputy Chief Timothy Peek, with the Atlanta Police Department, described officers’ numerous attempts to deploy Tasers.
“Ultimately, when the officer used the Taser, it was ineffective for the suspect,” Peek said. “It did not stop the aggression of the fight.”
Peek added preliminary information shows Brooks was able to take an officer’s Taser from him and use it against the officers.
The GBI reported that at some point during the struggle over the Taser, Brooks was shot by an officer.
The late-night shooting fanned the flames around existing tensions with APD. Protests against police brutality just surpassed two weeks in Atlanta.
A crowd lined the Wendy’s parking lot overnight — full of people enraged by videos seen on social media that appear to show the scuffle leading up to gunfire between two white police officers and a black man.
Members of the crowd told FOX 5’s Emilie Ikeda that the deputy chief did try explaining what investigators uncovered so far, but many expressed skepticism towards the department’s narrative.
“I guess he was trying to clear it up, it was just all the stories were conflicting, none of it made sense, it was like they were trying to cover up something,” one protestor described.
In the meantime, District 3 Councilman Antonio Brown empathized with the angered crowd but urged social media users to wait for the facts.
“What’s important is information is being properly disseminated about what has occurred,” Brown said. “There’s misinformation that’s given that sparks an outrage.”
The GBI said one officer was injured but has since been released from the hospital. Peek told FOX 5 the officers were visibly shaken following the incident.
Less than 24 hours after the shooting, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced that she had accepted the resignation of Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields.
Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard is asking anyone who witnessed the incident to call the tip line at (404) 612-4903 or email information, photos, and more to [email protected].
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