Georgia authorities said Saturday a man was shot and killed in a late night struggle with Atlanta police outside a fast food restaurant after he failed a field sobriety test and resisted arrest.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said it was asked by the Atlanta Police Department to investigate the shooting, which happened at a Wendy’s restaurant late Friday. The GBI said its agents were reviewing video taken by witnesses. The agency also posted to Twitter a plea for witnesses to come forward, saying some at the scene “chose not to be interviewed by GBI agents.”
The shooting came at a time of heightened tension over police brutality and calls for reforms across the U.S. following the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Atlanta was among U.S. cities where large crowds of protesters took to the streets.
Videos posted to social media Saturday showed a small crowd of demonstrators gathered outside the Atlanta restaurant where the police shooting occurred overnight.
Officers were responding to a complaint of a man in a vehicle parked in the drive-thru who was asleep, causing customers to drive around the vehicle.
After he failed a field sobriety test, the officers attempted to place the man into custody, according to the GBI. But he resisted and a struggle ensued, leading the officer to deploy a Taser.
“Ultimately, when the officer used a Taser, it was ineffective for the suspect," Atlanta Deputy Police Chief Timothy Peek told reporters at the scene Friday night. “It did not stop the aggression of the fight. And so the suspect was able to take the officer’s Taser from him.”
Peek said a second officer also attempted to use a Taser on the struggling man, "but it didn’t work against the suspect as well.”
The GBI said in statement it was investigating reports “that the male subject was shot by an officer in the struggle over the Taser.”
The man was transported to a local hospital where he died after surgery, the statement said. The GBI later identified him as 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks of Atlanta.
One officer was treated for an injury and discharged from the hospital.
Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said Saturday his office had already gotten involved without waiting for the GBI to finish its investigation.
“My office has already launched an intense, independent investigation of the incident,” Howard said in a statement, saying members of his staff "were on scene shortly after the shooting, and we have been in investigative sessions ever since to identify all of the facts and circumstances surrounding this incident."
Stacey Abrams, the Georgia Democrat who gained national prominence running for governor in 2018, tweeted Saturday of the shooting that “sleeping in a drive-thru must not end in death.”
“The killing of #RayshardBrooks in Atlanta last night demands we severely restrict the use of deadly force," Abrams' tweet said. “Yes, investigations must be called for — but so too should accountability.”
The officers involved in the shooting was not identified. Once its investigation is complete, the case will be turned over to the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office for review.