NEW YORK, Jun 14 (APP):A white police officer in Atlanta, the capital of the U.S. state of Georgia, was sacked following the fatal shooting of an African-American man and another officer was placed on administrative duty, the police department announced Sunday, as racial tensions continued to torment America.
Media reports identified the terminated officer as Garrett Rolfe, and the officer placed on administrative duty as Devin Bronsan.
On Saturday, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms had called for the immediate firing of the officer who opened fire on Brooks and announced that she had accepted the resignation of Police Chief Erika Shields.
The police department also released body camera and dash camera footage from both officers.
The killing of Rayshard Brooks, 27, sparked a new wave of protests in Atlanta after turbulent demonstrations that followed the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis were simmering down.
Protesters had set fire to a restaurant where Brooks was fatally shot and also blocked traffic a nearby highway.
Television images showed the restaurant in flames for more than 45 minutes before fire crews arrived to extinguish the blaze, protected by a line of police officers. By that time the building was reduced to charred rubble next to a gas station.
Other demonstrators marched onto to the highway, stopping traffic, before police used a line of squad cars to hold them back.
In accepting police chief Shields’ resignation, Mayor Bottoms said , “I do not believe that this was a justified use of deadly force and have called for the immediate termination of the officer.”
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) said it was investigating the incident. Police said Brooks resisted arrest after failing a field sobriety test.
The killing of Brooks came after weeks of intense racial equality protests across the United States following the death of Floyd, an African-American man killed in Minneapolis police custody when an officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
The Georgia investigators said video taken by an eyewitness was aiding their probe.
GBI director Vic Reynolds said during a news conference that video captured by cameras inside the Wendy’s restaurant appeared to show that Brooks had one of the officer’s Tasers in his hand when he fled.
“At that point, the Atlanta officer reaches down and retrieves his weapon from his holster, discharges it, strikes Mr Brooks there on the parking lot and he goes down,” Reynolds said.
In the eyewitness video, Brooks is first seen on the ground outside his car, struggling with two officers.
He appears to grab for the Taser of one officer, who was using the device on Brooks’ leg. After a few seconds, Brooks breaks free and begins to run. One officer then uses a Taser on him. The pair then run out of the frame of the video.
Gunshots are heard along with someone yelling “I got him!” The video then shows Brooks apparently lifeless on the ground.
Brooks died after being taken to an Atlanta hospital.
A crowd of demonstrators gathered outside the restaurant where Brooks was shot. Gerald Griggs, an attorney and a vice president of Atlanta’s NAACP chapter, estimated there were 150 people protesting at the scene as he walked with them Saturday afternoon.
“The people are upset,” Griggs said. “They want to know why their dear brother Rayshard Brooks was shot and killed when he was merely asleep on the passenger side and not doing anything.”
Even though Brooks struggled with officers, Griggs said, “they could have used nonlethal force to take him down.”