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As protests against police brutality enter a fourth week, more names are being added to the list of Black people killed by cops. Your Monday briefing begins with details on a killing in Atlanta that’s added fuel to the demonstrations and the accompanying debate over the future of policing in America.
WHAT TO KNOW TODAY
Fatal police shooting in Atlanta adds to outcry against racism and law enforcement. As the Wendy’s restaurant where the incident occurred burned and protesters blocked a highway, anger at the Police Departments’ broad use of force policies intensified nationwide.
- What happened: Rayshard Brooks, 27, fell asleep in his car Friday night, blocking the fast-food restaurant’s drive-thru. Working from police bodycam footage and eyewitness videos, The New York Times assembled a chronology of the 28-minute confrontation, which began with Brooks initially cooperating with the officers before getting in a struggle and taking one of their tasers. The incident ended with Officer Garrett Rolfe chasing Brooks through the parking lot, unholstering his handgun, and firing three times, striking Brooks twice in the back. The medical examiner ruled his death a homicide.
- Twenty-four hours later, the police chief resigned. Erika Shields, who is white, was replaced in the interim by former assistant chief Rodney Bryant, who is Black. Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced the resignation in a statement: “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… so that the city may move forward with urgency and rebuilding the trust so desperately needed throughout our communities.”
- A few hours later, Officer Rolfe was fired, and could face charges. Rolfe was a seven-year veteran of the department. The other officer, Devin Brosnan, was placed on administrative leave. The Fulton County District Attorney criticized the officers’ behavior and said a decision on charges could come by mid-week.
- Brooks leaves behind a wife and three daughters, ages 1, 2, and 8, and a 13-year-old stepson. Mayor Bottoms described Brooks as “a guy you were rooting for,” and an attorney for the family said he was planning his oldest daughter’s birthday party before he died. His wife, Tomika Miller, said bluntly, “It was murder.” She added: “I want [the officers] to go to jail. If it was my husband who shot them, he would be in jail… he would be doing a life sentence.”
ICYMI: Police, guns, and power. Americans own nearly half of the world’s civilian firearms, and the United States also differs from other countries in arming most of its police. It’s a distinction with deadly consequences, as The Trace’s Champe Barton reported on Friday. Police in America kill civilians at more than 16 times the rate of law enforcement in nations where officers work unarmed. And officers’ firearms are a key variable in virtually all other instances of police brutality, allowing them to exercise force or inflict humiliation with little fear of resistance from victims or bystanders. “Guns are the extreme logical end of what the whole training and whole repertoire of policing is about,” a sociologist says. “I can’t imagine police acting the way they do without a firearm.” Read the article.
The Minneapolis City Council takes first formal step toward replacing its police department. A resolution approved by the 12-member council pledges to build a new public safety system informed by “every willing community member.” A working group has until next month to propose specific steps for engaging under-represented groups in the process.
There were at least 14 mass shootings over the weekend.
- On Friday, eight people were wounded when a man rejected from a San Antonio bar returned with a rifle and opened fire; six people were wounded in a shootout in Philadelphia; and a 19-year-old girl who’d just earned her associate’s degree was killed and three others were wounded in New York City when someone fired in park in the Bronx.
- On Saturday, five people were wounded when someone fired on a crowd outside a liquor store in Baltimore; two people were killed and five others were wounded in a drive-by shooting in Atlanta; two teens were killed and five others were wounded at a block party in Washington, D.C.; one person was killed and seven others were injured at a house party in Wyandanch, New York; one person was killed and five others were wounded outside a club in St. Louis; four people were wounded during a gathering at a park in Rison, Arkansas; and five people were injured at a house party in Hesperia, California.
- On Sunday, five people were wounded in downtown Lafayette, Louisiana; four people were wounded at a nightclub in Lake Charles, Louisiana; one person was killed and three others were injured in New Orleans; and one person was killed and four others were wounded at a skate park in Louisville, Kentucky.