An Atlanta police officer shot and killed a 27-year-old African-American male, Rayshard Brooks, Friday night. Already, the Atlanta police chief has resigned, protests are underway, and fires have been set.
Here is the Washington Post’s account of the facts of the shooting:
The Atlanta Police Department was dispatched Friday night to a Wendy’s on a complaint about a man parked and asleep in the drive-through. . .Atlanta police performed a sobriety test on the man, later identified as Brooks. When Brooks failed the test, officers attempted to put him in custody. The response escalated when Brooks grabbed an officer’s stun gun.
According to a Wendy’s surveillance video released by the GBI on Saturday afternoon, Brooks ran from the officers. In the video, the officer is seen chasing Brooks. After running the equivalent of six or seven parking spots, Brooks turns back toward the officer and appears to point the stun gun at him, at which point the officer draws a weapon from his holster and fires at Brooks. Brooks falls to the ground as other cars in the lot pull aside, and both officers stand over him. An ambulance later arrives and takes Brooks away. Brooks was taken to a hospital, where he died after surgery.
I don’t know whether the police officer was justified in discharging his weapon at Brooks. However, if the Post’s account is accurate, Brooks was shot and killed because he pointed a weapon at the police officer. This is not a case of being shot for sleeping while black, as the execrable Stacey Abrams is suggesting.
Indeed, Brooks could have avoided violence simply by complying with what appear to be reasonable orders by the police. But this doesn’t mean his killing is justified. We need to know more before reaching a conclusion on that question.
Unfortunately, with a ready-made narrative in place, many seem disinclined to wait.