ATLANTA — The family of a black man shot and killed by Atlanta police spoke out in an emotional news conference Monday morning.
Atlanta police shot 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks during a suspected DUI stop in the Wendy’s parking lot off University Avenue Friday night. Brooks later died at the hospital.
Brooks’ widow, cousins and niece expressed how frustrated and heartbroken the 27-year-old’s death has left them. The family said they haven’t eaten or slept since they saw the video of police shooting him.
“The trust that we have with the police force is broken and the only way to heal some of these wounds is through a conviction and a drastic change of the police department," his cousin Tiara Brooks said.
“How many more protests will it take to ensure that the next victim isn’t your cousin, your brother, your uncle, your nephew your friend or your companion? So that we can finally end the suffering of police excessive force. We are tired and we are frustrated and most importantly we are heartbroken," she added.
The department fired Officer Garrett Rolfe and placed Officer Devin Brosnan on administrative duty. Erika Shields stepped down as Atlanta police chief.
Brooks’ niece said she defended Atlanta police during their response to George Floyd protests but now it’s too close to home.
“We stood with the Atlanta police department when they were tearing up our city and said this doesn’t happen here leave them alone. And here we are three weeks later police took something from our family that we’ll never get back,” Chassidy Evans said.
“We are not only pleading for justice. We are pleading for change. My uncle did not die in vain. His life mattered,” Evans said.
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Atlanta police released hours of body camera footage Sunday. Brosnan responded first to the call and found Brooks asleep in the drive-thru lane. He asks the 27-year-old to move over into a parking spot.
Brosnan talks with Brooks for several minutes and then calls for a DUI-certified officer to assist as backup.
Rolfe arrives and starts to ask Brooks a series of question about where he thinks he is and if he has been drinking. The officers perform a field sobriety test and a breathalyzer test on Brooks.
Brooks failed the tests and officers decided to take him into custody. As that happened, a struggle broke out between the three men. The officers took out their Tasers, one of which Brooks grabbed.
Surveillance video shows Brooks running away in the parking lot when shots were fired. The GBI said the video showed Brooks point a Taser at the officers before he was shot.
Since his death, protests have been happening all weekend in Atlanta and memorials have been set up outside the Wendy’s location.
Brooks’ widow shared a message for people who want to march in his memory.
“If you could just keep it as a peaceful protest that would be wonderful because we want to keep his name positive," Tomika Miller said.
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