Police fatally shot Black Atlanta man Rayshard Brooks at a Wendy’s drive-thru, investigators say

Investigators were looking into reports that an Atlanta police officer fatally shot a Black man in a fast-food drive-thru late Friday night.

Atlanta resident Rayshard Brooks, 27, was shot by an officer during a struggle and died after surgery at a local hospital, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. One officer was treated for an injury and discharged.

Brooks had been asleep in his car in a Wendy’s drive-thru, causing other customers to drive around the car, the Bureau of Investigation said. Police were dispatched to the Wendy’s around 10:30 p.m. and conducted a sobriety test on Brooks, who failed the test, according to the officials.

“During the arrest, the male subject resisted and a struggle ensued,” the Bureau of Investigation said. “The officer deployed a Taser. Witnesses report that during the struggle the male subject grabbed and was in possession of the Taser. It has also been reported that the male subject was shot by an officer in the struggle over the Taser.”

The Bureau of Investigation was conducting an independent investigation, which will be turned over to the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office for review.

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard, Jr. said in a statement Saturday that his office had already launched an “intense, independent” investigation of the incident, and that members of his office were on the scene shortly after the shooting.

“Our thoughts and our sympathies are extended to the family of Rayshard Brooks as we must not forget that this investigation is centered upon a loss of life,” Howard said.

Protesters gathered outside the Wendy’s late Friday night and again on Saturday.

The Atlanta Police Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Fulton County District Attorney’s Office was asking anyone with information about the incident to contact Donald.Hannah@fultoncountyga.gov.

In a statement Saturday, the Georgia NAACP called for Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields and Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms to be held “accountable for the continued threat on innocent Black lives in their community.”

“Atlantans woke up to disturbing videos and reports of Rayshard being killed by the Atlanta Police Department. At this time, we must address the over-saturated police presence in Atlanta’s Black communities. This is not the first time a Black man was killed for sleeping,” the organization said in a statement. “The City of Atlanta must address this not only with their words, but also with their actions and budgetary decisions.” 

Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams condemned the shooting on Twitter Saturday morning.

“The killing of #RayshardBrooks in Atlanta last night demands we severely restrict the use of deadly force. Yes, investigations must be called for – but so too should accountability,” Abrams wrote. “Sleeping in a drive-thru must not end in death.”

The report comes amid thousands of protests worldwide against police killings of Black people. The mass protests began at the end of May, following the death of George Floyd, a Black man who was killed as a white Minneapolis police officer held his knee into Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes.

Georgia officials have also attracted scrutiny in recent months for their handling of the killing of Ahmaud Arbery. In February, 25-year-old Arbery, who was Black, was fatally shot by three white men while out jogging about 2 miles from his home in a neighborhood outside Brunswick, Georgia. It took more than two months for murder charges and arrests in Arbery’s case.