ATLANTA — Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields has resigned following the death of a black man at the hands of an Atlanta police officer last night.
Rayshard Brooks, 27, was shot and killed after a confrontation with police outside an Atlanta Wendy’s. Video released by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation appears to show Brooks take a Taser from an officer, run from police and then fire it at them before he was shot by one of the officers.
Police told Channel 2 Action News early Sunday morning that the officer who shot Brooks has been fired. He’s identified as Garrett Rolfe, a nearly seven year veteran of the police force. A second officer, Devin Bronsan, is on administrative leave.
Bottoms said Saturday that she believes it was an unnecessary use of deadly force and she called for the officer’s immediate termination. The officer’s name has not been released.
“While there may be a debate about whether this was an appropriate use of deadly force, I firmly believe there is a clear distinction between what you can do and what you should do," Bottoms said. “I have called for the immediate termination of the officer.”
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Bottoms said Shields, who has been the Atlanta Police Chief for 3 1/2 years, will be reassigned to another role. Bottoms said the decision to step down was Shields'.
“Because of her desire that Atlanta be a model of what meaningful reform should look like across this country, Chief Shields has offered to immediately step aside as police chief so that the city may move forward with urgency and rebuilding the trust that is desperately needed throughout our communities,” Bottoms said.
Former Assistant Police Chief Rodney Bryant will serve as the interim police chief.
Shields has been under fire recently after six APD officers were arrested for using excessive force on two college students during protests in May. Video showed officers yank the students out of their cars and Tase them.
Shields announced the next day she had fired two officers and put the other four on desk duty. She said the decision by District Attorney Paul Howard to arrest the officers was a political one and she was blindsided by it.
The NAACP called on Shields to resign on Saturday, citing several recent incidents of police violence against black people in the city.
Shields released a statement Saturday night.
“For more than two decades, I have served alongside some of the finest women and men 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. 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.”
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