WARNING - GRAPHIC CONTENT: The Atlanta police officer who shot dead a black man outside a Wendy's has been fired as protesters set fire to the fast-food restaurant.
The unrest broke out after dark in Atlanta on Saturday (local time), where earlier in the day Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said she had accepted the resignation of police chief Erika Shields over the death on Friday night of 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks at the Wendy's.
The police department later terminated the officer who allegedly shot and killed Mr Brooks, police spokesman Carlos Campos confirmed late on Saturday.
Another officer involved in the incident was put on administrative leave.
Images on local television showed the restaurant in flames for more than 45 minutes before fire crews arrived to extinguish the blaze, protected by a line of police officers.
By that time the building was reduced to charred rubble next to a gas station.
Other demonstrators marched onto a major highway, stopping traffic, before police used a line of squad cars to hold them back.
"I do not believe that this was a justified use of deadly force and have called for the immediate termination of the officer," Bottoms said at an afternoon news conference.
Mr Brooks was the father of a young daughter who was celebrating her birthday on Saturday, his lawyers said.
His death from a police bullet came after more than two weeks of demonstrations in major cities across the United States in the name of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man who died on May 25 under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer.
Street protests broke out in Atlanta on Saturday near the scene of the shooting, with more than 100 people calling for the officers to be charged criminally in the case.
Video captures fatal shooting
Police were called to the Wendy's over reports that Mr Brooks had fallen asleep in the drive-thru line. Officers attempted to take him into custody after he failed a field sobriety test, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
Video shot by a bystander captures Mr Brooks struggling with two officers on the ground outside the Wendy's before breaking free and running across the parking lot with what appears to be a police Taser in his hand.
A second videotape from the restaurant's cameras shows Mr Brooks turning as he runs and possibly aiming the Taser at the pursuing officers before one of them fires his gun and Mr Brooks falls to the ground.
Mr Brooks ran the length of about six cars when he turned back toward an officer and pointed what he had in his hand at the policeman, said Vic Reynolds, director of the GBI at a separate press conference.
"At that point, the Atlanta officer reaches down and retrieves his weapon from his holster, discharges it, strikes Mr Brooks there on the parking lot and he goes down," Reynolds said.
‘Can’t have it both ways’, lawyer says
Lawyers representing the family of Mr Brooks told reporters that Atlanta police had no right to use deadly force even if he had fired the Taser in their direction.
“You can’t have it both ways in law enforcement,” L. Chris Stewart, an attorney for Mr Brooks’ family said.
“You can’t say a Taser is a nonlethal weapon ... but when an African American grabs it and runs with it, now it’s some kind of deadly, lethal weapon that calls for you to unload on somebody.”
Mr Stewart has called for the officer who shot him should be charged for “an unjustified use of deadly force, which equals murder.”
Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard, Jr., said in an emailed statement that his office "has already launched an intense, independent investigation of the incident" while it awaits the findings of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
Officers are identified
The officers involved in the shooting have since been identified.
APD Officer Garrett Rolfe has been terminated for his involvement in the shooting of Mr Brooks. Devin Bronsan is on administrative leave.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms had previously called for the officer who fired at Mr Brooks to be immediately laid off.
“Officer Bronsan has been placed on administrative duty and Officer Rolfe has been terminated,” the Atlanta Police Department said in a press release according to CNN.
It has not been explicitly said which officer shot at Mr Brooks approximately three times.
With Associated Press and AAP
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