Anti-racism protesters on Saturday sought to call attention to the deaths of two more black men — one who was found hanging from a tree in California and another who was fatally shot by police outside an Atlanta restaurant. The Atlanta police chief resigned hours later.
Meanwhile in Europe, far-right activists scuffled with police in London and Paris as more Black Lives Matter demonstrations unfolded nearly three weeks after George Floyd, another black man, died at the hands of a white Minneapolis police officer who pressed a knee to his neck.
Atlanta police were called late Friday about a man said to be sleeping in a car blocking a Wendy’s restaurant drive-thru. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation was investigating reports that 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks failed a sobriety test and was shot in a struggle over a police Taser.
By Saturday evening, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced that she had accepted the resignation of Police Chief Erika Shields. The announcement came as roughly 150 protesters marched outside the restaurant, which was later set aflame. The mayor also called for the immediate firing of the officer who opened fire on Brooks.
“I do not believe that this was a justified use of deadly force,” Bottoms said.
She said it was Shields’ decision to step aside and that she would remain with the city in an undetermined role.
Stacey Abrams, the Georgia Democrat who gained national prominence running for governor in 2018, tweeted that “sleeping in a drive-thru must not end in death.”
In Palmdale, California, hundreds of people marched to demand an investigation into the death of Robert Fuller, 24, who was found hanging from a tree early Wednesday near city hall. The protesters marched from where the body was found to a sheriff’s station, with many carrying signs that said “Justice for Robert Fuller.”
Authorities said the death appeared to be a suicide, but an autopsy was planned. The city said there were no outdoor cameras that could have recorded what happened.
Fuller’s death has brought to light the death of another black man found hanging from a tree on May 31 in Victorville, a desert city 45 miles (72 kilometers) east of Palmdale. A sheriff’s spokeswoman, Jodi Miller, told Victor Valley News foul play was not suspected in 38-year-old Malcolm Harsch’s death but the man’s family said they were concerned it will be ruled a suicide to avoid further attention.