Rayshard Brooks: protesters set fire to restaurant where black man shot dead

Protesters have shut down a major highway in Atlanta and set fire to a Wendy’s restaurant where a black man was shot by police as he tried to escape arrest.

Rayshard Brooks, 27, was shot dead on Friday night after police were called to the Wendy’s over reports that he had had fallen asleep in the drive-through line.

Officers attempted to take him into custody after he failed a field sobriety test, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

The incident, which was caught on video, looked set to fuel more nationwide demonstrations about the treatment of African Americans by police in the wake of the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

The unrest broke out after dark in Atlanta on Saturday, where earlier in the day mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said she had accepted the prompt resignation of police chief Erika Shields over the death of Brooks.

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 was reduced to charred rubble.

Other demonstrators marched onto Interstate-75, stopping traffic, before police used a line of squad cars to hold them back.

Demonstrators block the I75 highway in Atlanta on Saturday. Photograph: Ben Gray/AP

“I do not believe that this was a justified use of deadly force and have called for the immediate termination of the officer,” Bottoms said at an afternoon news conference.

Authorities have not yet released the names of the two officers involved in the shooting, both of whom were white.

Brooks was the father of a young daughter who was celebrating her birthday on Saturday, his lawyers said. His death from a police bullet came after more than two weeks of demonstrations in major cities across the United States in the name of Floyd, a 46-year-old black man who died on May 25 under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer.

Video shot by a bystander captures Brooks struggling with two officers on the ground outside the Wendy’s before breaking free and running across the parking lot with what appears to be a police Taser in his hand.

A second video from the restaurant’s cameras shows Brooks turning as he runs and possibly aiming the Taser at the pursuing officers before one of them fires his gun and Brooks falls to the ground.

Brooks ran the length of about six cars when he turned back toward an officer and pointed what he had in his hand at the policeman, said Vic Reynolds, director of the GBI at a separate press conference.

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