Atlanta police chief resigns after Black man killed

Rayshard Brooks, 27, was killed by police officer in Atlanta, triggering fiery protests against police brutality.

  • Atlanta’s police chief resigned on Saturday hours after the killing of a Black man, who had fallen asleep in his car while waiting in line at a fast food drive-through restaurant. Authorities said Rayshard Brooks resisted arrest and was shot during a struggle.

  • Garrett Rolfe and Devin Bronsan, the two officers involved in the fatal shooting of Rayshard Brooks, were fired and placed on administrative duty respectively.

  • One of the four former Minneapolis police officers who was charged over the death of George Floyd was released on $750,000 bail.

  • Floyd, a Black man, died on May 25 after a policeman knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes. His death has sparked nationwide calls for policing reforms and global protests.

Here are the latest updates:

Sunday, June 14

10:48 GMT – Police bodycam of struggle before Atlanta shooting released

Atlanta’s Police Department on Sunday released bodycamera and dashboard camera footage of the attempted arrest and fatal shooting of Rayshard Brooks outside a Wendy’s in Georgia’s capital on Friday. 

Officers Garrett Rolfe and Devin Brosnan attemtped to arrest Brooks after questioning him and getting him to performing inebriation tests.

Footage showed Rolfe attempting to put handcuffs on Brooks before a struggle begins.

Dashcam footage showed the scuffle in more detail, with Brooks, Brosnan and Rolfe all on the floor, before a taser is fired at Rolfe. Three gunshots are then heard while the three are off camera. 

Rolfe’s death sparked protests in Atlanta on Saturday night, leading to the Wendy’s where Rolfe was shot being set alight. 

09:55 GMT – Police arrest more than 100 after London Black Lives Matter protests

London protests turn violent
Police take some protesters as clashes break out between protesters supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and far-right activists at Leicester Square in London 

British police said they have arrested more than 100 people after protesters, including far-right protesters, clashed with officers in London.

Hundreds of right-wing protesters turned out for demonstrations Saturday in London, with many saying they wanted to “protect” monuments and statues targeted recently by anti-racism protesters for links to slavery and British colonialism.

The protests, which were attended by far-right groups including Britain First, turned violent when some scuffled with riot police and others hurled bottles, flares and smoke grenades at officers. Six police officers suffered minor injuries.

More Black Lives Matter protests are planned on Sunday after rallies in at least a dozen British towns and cities on Saturday, including Newcastle, Bristol, Chelmsford, Canterbury and Brighton, where an estimated 10,000-plus Black Lives Matters protesters marched along the seafront.

Read more here.

08:35 GMT – Black Lives Matter protests in New Zealand

Thousands of New Zealanders turned out to Black Lives Matter protests in Auckland and Wellington on Sunday.

In Auckland, the protest began at the central Aotea Square and ended at the US consulate, where protesters took a knee and observed a minute’s silence to commemorate George Floyd, who died at the hands of Minneapolis police last month.

In Wellington, the capital, protesters marched from Civic Square to the grounds of Parliament, chanting “Black Lives Matter” and holding placards with slogans like “Racism is a pandemic, let’s fight it!”

Andrew Little, the country’s justice minister, spoke to the crowd outside Parliament, saying politicians and people needed to demand improved outcomes for indigenous Maoris.

08:11 GMT – Australian prime minister apologises over slavery comments

Black Lives Matter - Australian PM blog entry
Protesters participate in a Black Lives Matter rally at Langley Park in Perth, Australia to raise awareness of Aboriginal deaths in police custody

Scott Morrison has apologised for denying his country’s history with slavery, saying he was referring to the settlement of the first colony.

His remarks have angered some indigenous Australians as well as descendants of Pacific Islanders who say their ancestors worked for little or no pay on sugar plantations. 

“The comments I was referring to was how the first colony, New South Wales, was first established,” he said in a press conference in Canberra. 

Dominic O’Sullivan from the Charles Sturt University said many Australians are not aware of their past.

“Australia has a habit of forgetting those bits of its history it doesn’t like, that could cause tension or embarrassment,” he said.

“While Morrison’s initial comment about denying the history of was simply a mistake, the fact that he retracted it so quickly was a sign that he had realised that he really couldn’t defend his position because what he said was not true and the evidence that it is not true is compelling.”

07:33 GMT – Atlanta officer fired after fatal shooting of black man

Black Lives Matter - Atlanta officer fired blog entry
An officer talks with protesters near the Atlanta Wendy’s where Rayshard Brooks was shot and killed by police Friday evening following a struggle in the restaurant’s drive-thru line in Atlanta

An Atlanta police officer was fired following the fatal shooting of  Rayshard Brooks, a Black man, and another officer was placed on administrative duty, the police department announced early Sunday.

The moves follows the Saturday resignation of Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields, who stepped down as the Friday night killing of Brooks, 27, sparked a new wave of protests in Atlanta after turbulent demonstrations that followed the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis had simmered down.

The terminated officer was identified as Garrett Rolfe, who was hired in October 2013, and the officer placed on administrative duty is Devin Bronsan, who was hired in September 2018.

The police department also released body camera and dash camera footage from both officers.

L. Chris Stewart, an attorney for Brooks’ family, said the officer who shot him should be charged for “an unjustified use of deadly force, which equals murder.”

07:15 GMT – New Orleans protesters pull down bust, throw it in river

Black Lives Matter - New Orleans blog entry
Demonstrators in New Orleans pulled down the bust of John McDonogh, a slave owner who left his wealth to build schools, took the remains to the Mississippi River and rolled it into the water 

Protesters tore down a bust of slave owner John McDonogh – who left part of his fortune to New Orleans’ schools – and then took the remains to the Mississippi River and rolled it down the banks into the water.

The destruction is part of a nationwide effort to remove monuments to the Confederacy or with links to slavery as the country grapples with widespread protests against police brutality toward African Americans.

Police said in a statement that demonstrators at Duncan Plaza, which is directly across the street from City Hall, dragged the bust into the streets, loaded it onto trucks and took it to the Mississippi River where they threw it in.

When he died, McDonogh left a large portion of his money to New Orleans and Baltimore for schools, and many schools in New Orleans are named after him. The McDonogh Day celebration, in which schoolchildren across the city laid flowers at a different monument to McDonogh, was racially segregated and became the subject of boycotts in the 1950s, as African-American children would have to wait for hours for white children to lay their flowers first.

 More than 10,000 demonstrate against racism in Zurich

Black Lives Matter - Zurich protest blog entry
People demonstrate against racism after the worldwide movement of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) protest against the recent death of George Floyd in Zurich

Demonstrators took to the streets of several Swiss cities to protest against racism, the news agency Keystone-SDA reported.

In Zurich alone, more than 10,000 people demonstrated Keystone-SDA reported, citing city police.

The mostly young protestors held up signs with slogans taken from anti-racism and anti-police brutality rallies in the US including “White silence is violence” and “Black lives matter”.

Protestors also met in the capital Bern, Lausanne, and in St Gallen. During the demonstration in Zurich, people knelt down several times to commemorate the brutal incident.

Hello, this is Linah Alsaafin taking over the blog in Doha from my colleagues in Kuala Lumpur.

05:35 GMT – US embassy in South Korea displays Black Lives Matter banner

The US embassy in Seoul draped a huge Black Lives Matter banner on its mission building and tweeted a picture of it in support of an anti-racism campaign across America.

“The US Embassy stands in solidarity with fellow Americans grieving and peacefully protesting to demand positive change. Our #BlackLivesMatter banner shows our support for the fight against racial injustice and police brutality as we strive to be a more inclusive just society,” the embassy tweeted, along with the picture of the banner in black and white.

US Ambassador to South Korea Harry Harris retweeted the message, adding “USA is a free and diverse nation … from that diversity we gain our strength.”

No comment was immediately available from the embassy on Sunday.

Harry Harris

@USAmbROK

I believe in what President JFK said on June 10, 1963 at American University: “If we cannot now end our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity.” USA is a free & diverse nation…from that diversity we gain our strength. https://twitter.com/USEmbassySeoul/status/1271745253863649280 

U.S. Embassy Seoul

@USEmbassySeoul

The U.S. Embassy stands in solidarity with fellow Americans grieving and peacefully protesting to demand positive change. Our #BlackLivesMatter banner shows our support for the fight against racial injustice and police brutality as we strive to be a more inclusive & just society.

View image on Twitter

Protesters have shut down a major highway in the US city of Atlanta and set fire to a Wendy’s restaurant where a Black man was shot by police as he tried to escape arrest in an incident caught on video and expected to fuel more nationwide demonstrations.

The unrest broke out after dark in Atlanta where, earlier in the day, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said she had accepted the prompt resignation of police chief Erika Shields over the death on Friday night of 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks at the restaurant.

Images on local television 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 had been reduced to charred rubble next to a gas station.

Matt Johnson

@MattWSB

GBI released video that shows the moment Rayshard Brooks was shot and killed by an Atlanta Police officer at a Wendys on University Ave last night. Police say Brooks had taken an officer’s taser and pointed it at the officer as he ran.

Embedded video

A rural Missouri police chief has been placed on leave over inflammatory Facebook posts about protests over the death of George Floyd.

Keven Suedmeyer, police chief in Auxvasse, about 56 kilometres (35 miles) northeast of Jefferson City, was placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation, Mayor Tom Henage said Friday.

“Racism is not condoned or tolerated by the City of Auxvasse,” Henage said in a news release. When asked by the Jefferson City News-Tribune if that meant he considered the posts, which were on Suedmeyer’s personal Facebook page, to be racist, Henage said he did not.

Suedmeyer’s home phone rang unanswered Saturday when The Associated Press tried to call him for comment.

In a May 31 post, Suedmeyer wrote that if someone stands in the street blocking traffic, that person deserves “to be run over. That will help cleanup the gene pool.”

When Will Shackelford, a candidate for Callaway County western district commissioner, responded, “Have you come across any road blocks?”, Suedmeyer wrote, “Nope (and) I certainly won’t stop for them – though if they insist – I’ll identify myself – they can back down or get shot.”

On June 2, he wrote: “Corona virus coming to rioters everywhere Darwin – work your magic Time to ramp up the funeral industry.” A city alderman, Bret Barnes, was among Suedmeyer’s friends who hit “like” on the post.

Arab Observer

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