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Atlanta police officer fired, chief resigns after Rayshard Brooks killed; Secret Service admits to pepper spray – George Floyd live updates

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After a Seattle Police precinct left a violent protesting area, protests became peaceful and they dubbed it the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, or CHAZ.

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An Atlanta police officer was fired and another was placed on administrative duty Sunday as fallout continued from the fatal shooting of a Black man by an officer Friday night.

The death of Rayshard Brooks, a 27-year-old father of four, also prompted the resignation of the city’s police chief, an independent investigation and apparently the fire that roared through a Wendy’s restaurant where the confrontation began.

Brooks was fleeing when he was shot by an officer following a struggle over a taser at the Wendy’s drive-thru after Brooks failed a sobriety test, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Within hours of Brooks’ death, Police Chief Erika Shields said she was stepping down. Hours later, officer Garrett Wolfe was fired and Officer Devin Brosnan placed on administrative duty. 

The shooting drew condemnation from the Georgia NAACP, Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams, Bernice King — the daughter of Martin Luther King, Jr. – and others.

Protests are continuing in streets across the United States and the world in the wake of the death of George Floyd, a Black man who was killed as a white Minneapolis police officer held his knee into Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes.

Our live blog will be updated throughout the day. For first-in-the-morning updates, sign up for the Daily Briefing.

A closer look at some recent developments:

  • California authorities are investigating two separate hanging deaths of Black men in Southern California. One is probing the hanging death of a Black man in Palmdale initially called a suspected suicide. In the second case, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department says there are no indications of foul play in the hanging death of another Black man in Victorville last month.
  • Jefferson Davis and his legacy departed Kentucky’s Capitol Rotunda after a 12-foot marble statue commemorating the lone president of the Confederate States of America was removed from its base Saturday morning.
  • The family of a Las Vegas police officer who was shot June 1 during a protest on the Las Vegas Strip says he is on a ventilator and paralyzed from the neck down.

Atlanta police fire officer, release body cam and dash cam footage 

Atlanta police officer Garrett Rolfe, who was hired in October 2013, was fired and Devin Brosnan, who was hired in September 2018, was placed on administrative leave, according to a release from police spokesperson Sgt. John Chafee. The police department also released body camera and dash camera footage from both officers. On Saturday, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced that Police Chief Erika Shields had stepped down after more than three years at the helm.

“I do not believe that this was a justified use of deadly force,” Bottoms said.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation, which is probing the shooting, said the deadly confrontation started with a complaint that a man was sleeping in a car blocking the Wendy’s restaurant drive-thru lane.

Inside CHAZ, Black protesters think white allies will lose interest

In just a few short days, Seattle protesters who once violently clashed with riot police over the death of George Floyd have had their rough edges dulled by tens of thousands of tourists and sightseers. Once criticized by President Donald Trump and FOX News commentators as a haven for anarchists and the far-left Antifa movement, the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone — or CHAZ — has morphed into what looks and feels like a mini Burning Man festival, complete with its own corps of volunteer street cleaners and medics, as well as dreadlocked white girls blowing soap bubbles and taking selfies in front of paintings of men and women killed by Seattle police.

The autonomous zone’s evolution from a somber protest site to street festival highlights the problem Seattle’s Black residents say they face: The city’s overwhelmingly white population loves to protest but might not be taking the Black Lives Matter movement as seriously as they should. Black protesters calling for systemic change following the death of George Floyd say they worry white allies will again lose interest.

– Trevor Hughes

Secret Service admits it used pepper spray prior to Trump photo op

After saying it didn’t, the Secret Service admitted Saturday it used pepper spray when it helped clear out Lafayette Square June 1 to allow for President Donald Trump’s photo op in front of St. John’s Church. The agency said last week none of their officers used tear gas or pepper spray. 

“After further review, the U.S. Secret Service has determined that an agency employee used pepper spray on June 1st, during efforts to secure the area near Lafayette Park ” according to a statement the agency tweeted Saturday. “The employee utilized oleoresin capsicum spray, or pepper spray, in response to an assaultive individual.”

In the days after the photo op, Trump and his allies pushed back forcefully against claims that tear gas was used to disperse protesters that most witness accounts say were acting peacefully right before they were forcefully removed. The U.S. Park Police, one of the law enforcement agencies involved with clearing the park, denied using tear gas. But the agency later acknowledged using “pepper balls,” another chemical irritant that causes people to tear up and cough.  

– Ledyard King

More on protests, George Floyd:

Texans’ J.J. Watt responds to a fan about taking a knee

Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt sent a tweet Saturday that seemingly expressed support for NFL players who take a knee to protest police brutality. After Texans coach Bill O’Brien said Friday that he would take a knee with players during the national anthem, Watt was mentioned in a tweet from a fan that said, “Pretty sure you won’t see @JJWatt taking a knee.”

Watt responded with a quote telling the fan not to speak for him and saying, “If you still think it’s about disrespecting the flag or our military, you clearly haven’t been listening.”

In 2016, when then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem, Watt was one of several Texans players to hold a giant flag during the anthem before a game against the Chicago Bears. Though Watt did not explicitly state in the Saturday tweet that he would take a knee, it suggested he was open to the possibility. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Saturday to once again criticize the idea of kneeling during the national anthem. 

– Aria Gerson

Contributing: The Associated Press

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