Po­lice killings

At­lanta man’s fam­ily pleads for changes.

Richmond Times-Dispatch - - FRONT PAGE - BY RUSS BYNUM AND KATE BRUM­BACK

AT­LANTA — Plead­ing through tears Mon­day, the fam­ily of a black man killed by At­lanta po­lice out­side a drive-thru de­manded changes in the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem and called on protesters to re­frain from vi­o­lence amid height­ened ten­sions across the U.S. three weeks af­ter Ge­orge Floyd’s death in Min­neapo­lis.

An au­topsy found that 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks was shot twice in the back late Friday by a white of­fi­cer who was try­ing to ar­rest him at a fast-food restau­rant for be­ing in­tox­i­cated be­hind the wheel of his car. Brooks tried to flee af­ter wrestling with of­fi­cers and grab­bing a Taser from one of them.

“Not only are we hurt, we are an­gry,” said Chas­sidy Evans, Brooks’ niece. “When does it stop? We’re not only plead­ing for jus­tice. We’re plead­ing for change.”

About 20 of Brooks’ chil­dren, sib­lings, cousins and other fam­ily mem­bers sobbed at a news con­fer­ence as more than 1,000 peo­ple gath­ered not far away at an NAACP-led protest out­side the Ge­or­gia State Capi­tol.

Floyd’s death May 25 af­ter a white Min­neapo­lis of­fi­cer put his knee on the black man’s neck touched off demon­stra­tions and scat­tered vi­o­lence across the U.S., and Brooks’ killing rekin­dled those protests in At­lanta. The Wendy’s restau­rant where Brooks was shot was burned down over the week­end.

Evans said there was no rea­son for her un­cle “to be shot and killed like trash in the street for fall­ing asleep in a drive-thru.”

“Rayshard has a fam­ily who loves him who would have gladly come and got him so he would be here with us today,” she said.

Rel­a­tives de­scribed Brooks as a lov­ing father of three daugh­ters and a step­son who had a bright smile and a big heart and loved to dance. His old­est daugh­ter learned her father was slain while cel­e­brat­ing her eighth birth­day with cup­cakes and friends, wear­ing a spe­cial dress as she waited for Brooks to take her skat­ing, said Justin Miller, an at­tor­ney for the fam­ily.

“There’s no jus­tice that can ever make me feel happy about what’s been done,” said Tomika Miller, Brooks’ widow. “I can never get my hus­band back . ... I can never tell my daugh­ter he’s com­ing to take you skat­ing or for swim­ming lessons.”

She asked those demon­strat­ing in the streets to “keep the protest­ing peace­ful,” say­ing: “We want to keep his name pos­i­tive and great.”

Af­ter Brooks’ killing, Of­fi­cer Gar­rett Rolfe, who fired the fa­tal shots, was ter­mi­nated, and the other of­fi­cer at the scene, Devin Bros­nan, was put on desk duty. Po­lice Chief Erika Shields re­signed a day af­ter the shoot­ing.

Tomika Miller, widow of Rayshard Brooks, asked demon­stra­tors in the streets to “keep the protest­ing peace­ful . ... We want to keep his name pos­i­tive and great.”

Cities across the U.S. were re­spond­ing to calls for re­form while the protests set off by the death in Min­neapo­lis con­tin­ued.

New York City’s top po­lice of­fi­cer said Mon­day that he was dis­band­ing the NYPD’s plain­clothes precinct an­ti­crime units, which have of­ten been ac­cused of heavy­handed tac­tics by mi­nor­ity com­mu­ni­ties.

Po­lice Com­mis­sioner

Der­mot Shea said the 600 of­fi­cers in the units would be moved to other re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.

“This is a pol­icy shift com­ing from me per­son­ally,” he said. “It’s a big move. I would con­sider this in the same realm as [mov­ing away] from stop, ques­tion and frisk. It’s time to move for­ward and change how we po­lice in this city. We can do it with brains, with guile, and not with brute force.”

Mean­while, In Chicago, Mayor Lori Light­foot said a panel of res­i­dents, ac­tivists and one po­lice of­fi­cial will re­view the po­lice depart­ment’s pol­icy on when of­fi­cers can use force.

Al­bu­querque, N.M., Mayor Tim Keller said he wants a new depart­ment of so­cial work­ers and civil­ian pro­fes­sion­als to pro­vide an­other op­tion when some­one calls 911.

And New Jersey’s at­tor­ney gen­eral or­dered po­lice in the state to be­gin pub­licly di­vulging names of of­fi­cers who com­mit se­ri­ous dis­ci­plinary vi­o­la­tions.

Se­nate Democrats on Mon­day asked the Jus­tice Depart­ment’s in­ter­nal watch­dog to in­ves­ti­gate the role of At­tor­ney Gen­eral Wil­liam Barr in the force­ful clear­ing of largely peace­ful protesters ahead of a photo op by Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump at a church near the White House.

In a let­ter to Michael Horowitz, the depart­ment’s in­spec­tor gen­eral, 21 sen­a­tors called the episode “alarm­ing” and asked for an im­me­di­ate look at Barr’s role in di­rect­ing what they de­scribed as “the use of tear gas or a sim­i­lar gas, rub­ber bul­lets, pep­per balls, and ba­tons ... to sup­press peace­ful protesters around Lafayette Square” on June 1.

“This mis­use of force is all the more alarm­ing given that the At­tor­ney Gen­eral ap­pears to have is­sued this or­der to al­low Pres­i­dent Trump to walk across the street from the White House for a po­lit­i­cal photo op in front of St. John’s Church,” the sen­a­tors wrote. “Notably, At­tor­ney Gen­eral Barr was not only on the scene less than an hour be­fore the use of force to clear peace­ful protesters, but he also par­tic­i­pated in Pres­i­dent Trump’s photo op, pos­ing for pic­tures in front of the church.”

The con­cerns ex­pressed by the sen­a­tors, led by Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, echoes those con­tained in a let­ter last week to Horowitz signed by more than 1,250 for­mer Jus­tice Depart­ment em­ploy­ees.

In an in­ter­view with The As­so­ci­ated

Press af­ter the episode, Barr said he had asked that the perime­ter be ex­panded but claimed he did not give the “tac­ti­cal” or­der for fed­eral law en­force­ment to move in.

Barr and other Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials have also said the ex­pan­sion of the perime­ter around the White House was un­re­lated to Trump’s photo op at the church, which took place less than an hour af­ter the protesters were cleared from the area.

THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Blessen Miller (left), 8, and her sis­ter, Me­mory, at­tended a news con­fer­ence held by mem­bers of Rayshard Brooks’ fam­ily on Mon­day. The fam­ily mem­bers and their at­tor­neys spoke days af­ter Brooks was shot and killed by po­lice in an At­lanta restau­rant park­ing lot.

THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

In an event led by the NAACP, peo­ple marched to­ward the Ge­or­gia State Capi­tol in At­lanta on Mon­day to protest the mis­treat­ment of black peo­ple and to press for pol­icy change.

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