Atlanta Police Chief Resigns After Police Fatally Shoot Man Outside Drive-Thru

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms revealed Saturday that Atlanta Police Chief Ericka Shields was resigning from her position, a move that comes less than 24 hours after Rayshard Brooks, a 27-year-old African American man, was fatally shot by police outside a Wendy’s drive-thru.

“For more than two decades, I have served alongside some of the finest men and women in the Atlanta Police Department. Out of a deep and abiding love for this City and this department, I offered to step aside as police chief,” said Shields in a statement.

“APD has my full support, and Mayor Bottoms has my support on the future direction of this department. I have faith in the Mayor, and it is time for the city to move forward and build trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve,” she said.

Police officers were responding to reports of a man asleep inside of his car at a drive-thru when the confrontation began. According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigations, a struggle broke out when the officers tried to arrest Brooks, who then grabbed an officer’s taser and tried to flee.

Brooks was shot during the chase after he pointed a taser at an officer while running and died at the hospital, said the bureau. One of the two officers was also injured, but later released from the hospital.

“While there may be debate as to whether this was an appropriate use of deadly force, I firmly believe that there is a clear distinction between what you can do and what you should do,” said Mayor Bottoms during a press conference on Saturday, reports The New York Times. “I do not believe that this was a justified use of deadly force.”

“What has become abundantly clear over the couple of weeks in Atlanta is that while we have a police force full of men and women who work alongside our communities with honor, respect, and dignity, there has been a disconnect with what our expectations are and should be as it relates to interactions with our officers and the communities they are entrusted to protect,” said Bottoms, according to Patch.

Bottoms clarified during the press conference that the resignation was Shields’ decision, and that she will remain at the police department in another role, reports the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

ABC News reports that Bottoms also expressed condolences to Brooks’ family, saying “there are no words strong enough to express how sincerely sorry I am for your loss.”

“I do hope that you will find some comfort in the swift actions that have been taken today and the meaningful reforms that our city will implement on behalf of the countless men and women who have lost their lives across this country,” said the mayor.

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