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On Friday, Rayshard Brooks fell asleep at a drive-through in Atlanta. Police killed him.

On Friday night, Rayshard Brooks died at the hands of police officers outside a restaurant in Atlanta, in a fatal incident that echoes the reason why hundreds of thousands of people have protested against police brutality and racial inequality in recent weeks.

The fatal encounter began at about 10.30pm, when police officers arrived to the drive-through of fast-food restaurant Wendy’s to find the 27-year-old black man had fallen asleep in his car, causing others to drive around him.

According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the police officers performed a sobriety test, which Brooks failed. He then reportedly resisted arrest.

A bystander caught the incident on camera. In the footage, Brooks was seen on the ground outside his car, struggling with two officers.

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Brooks then appears to grab one of their tasers, before breaking free to run away.

One officer uses their taser on him, before the other officers run out of the frame of the video.

Gun shots are heard along with someone yelling, “I got him!” The video then shows Brooks lifeless on the ground.

He was then taken to hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The killing of Brooks comes after weeks of intense Black Lives Matter protests across the United States and worldwide following the death of George Floyd, a black man killed in Minneapolis police custody when an officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

Brooks’ death has further ignited protests, with hundreds taking to the streets of Atlanta after the fatal shooting.

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Gerald Griggs, an attorney and the vice president of Atlanta’s National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People chapter, attended the protests and explained: “The people are upset. They want to know why their dear brother Rayshard Brooks was shot and killed when he was merely asleep on the passenger side and not doing anything.”

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Stacey Abrams, lawyer and American politician, tweeted on Saturday: “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,” her tweet said. “Yes, investigations must be called for – but so too should accountability.”

Indeed, the death has sparked outrage online.

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Atlanta’s police chief Erika Shields resigned on Saturday, less than 24 hours after the killing of Brooks.

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said on Saturday she accepted the resignation of police chief Erika Shields, and said, “I do not believe that this was a justified use of deadly force and have called for the immediate termination of the officer.”

Authorities have not yet released the names of the two officers involved in the shooting.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation confirmed they are investigating the incident.

If you have the means to do so, you can actively help the Black Lives Matter cause in Australia and the United States by donating to organisations working towards racial justice, such as the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women’s Alliance and the Justice for David Dungay Fund to support the family of David Dungay Junior, an Aboriginal man who died in a Sydney jail. You can also donate to the Black Lives Matter Global Network here. If you can, consider regularly donating to Indigenous-run organisations and First Nations causes.

Other active ways to help include signing petitions, attending peaceful protests, listening to BIPOC, raising their voices, educating yourself on racism and privilege and ensuring we are all taking part in the conversation to dismantle systemic racism.


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