Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 29 October 2020

Public viewing held for Atlanta's Rayshard Brooks, who was killed by police

Second shooting occurs in Seattle's police-free protest zone

Mourners filed through Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia on Monday for a public viewing of Rayshard Brooks, an African-American man who was shot dead by a white police officer amid protests against racial injustice.

Mourners lined up hours early outside the church where the Rev Martin Luther King Jr was once pastor and where Brooks’s funeral is set for Tuesday.

About an hour before the four-hour public viewing began, a gold-coloured casket carrying his body arrived at the church.

His widow, Tomika Miller, followed a short time later wearing a white dress printed with a photo of the two of them.

Officer Garrett Rolfe, 27, fatally shot Brooks, 27, twice in the back as he ran away after a struggle outside a Wendy's fast-food restaurant on June 12.

Video shows him appearing to point a Taser in the officer’s direction while running away.

The shooting happened against the backdrop of nationwide protests after the killing of George Floyd by a white Minneapolis officer, who knelt on the black man's neck for almost nine minutes.

Demonstrators have called for reforms to policing and an examination of racism in the US.

“I didn’t know Rayshard Brooks but just like George Floyd, we know him now,” said Manerva Harris, 42, who wore a shirt reading “I can't breathe.”

“Not even a week after they had buried Mr Floyd, now here we go where we have another black family going through the same thing.

“It’s hard and it’s just crazy that we’re still living like this today.”

A video feed from inside the church showed mourners, some wearing Black Lives Matter T-shirts and all wearing masks as a precaution against the coronavirus, filing past the casket where Brooks lay in a white suit and gold tie.

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard last week announced 11 charges against Mr Rolfe, including felony murder.

A judge on Friday denied bail because of the nature of the charges.

New York

Meanwhile, a New York police officer was suspended without pay on Sunday after a video was posted online that appeared to show him putting an African-American man in a banned chokehold.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Monday that the officer stepped over the line.

“I think a lot of people have seen this very troubling video of an NYPD officer apparently using a banned chokehold, which is absolutely disturbing to watch and unacceptable," Mr de Blasio said,

A strong rebuke also came from New York City Police Commissioner Dermot Shea on Twitter.

The video showed many officers restraining the man, who was lying on his stomach. One officer appeared to have his arm wrapped around the man's neck.

NBC News reported that the black man in the video was taken to hospital late on Sunday.

Seattle

There was a second shooting in less than 48 hours in Seattle's police-free protest zone.

The victim was a 17-year-old who declined to speak with detectives, leaving the circumstances of the shooting unclear, police said on Monday.

Protesters have laid claim to a part of Seattle's Capitol Hill neighbourhood, declaring it an occupied protest zone and denying police entry.

The shooting happened late on Sunday night as protesters who marched from the zone to the police department’s West Precinct in the city centre were returning, officials said.

On Saturday night in the protest zone a 19-year-old man was killed and another, aged 33, was critically wounded in another shooting incident.

Responding police and emergency medics stayed at the edge of the protest zone before going in, officers said.

Washington

In Washington, DC, police tried to clear protesters from the city streets on Monday afternoon as the interior department said it would investigate police and security forces in the city.

The investigation will be conducted by a watchdog that will review the violent clearing of protesters from a square in front of the White House this month.

Police and other forces released tear gas and at times punched and clubbed a largely peaceful crowd of demonstrators.

They were driving the public away from Lafayette Square on June 1 ahead of a photo session for US President Donald Trump.

Updated: June 26, 2020 01:45 AM

Editor's Picks
THE DAILY NEWSLETTER
Sign up to our daily email