The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Pray for Atlanta

Posted on | June 13, 2020 | Comments Off on Pray for Atlanta

Most people who say they’re “from Atlanta” are actually not. They’re from Cleveland or Pittsburgh or somewhere, and live in Marietta or Forsyth. The vast sprawl of metropolitan Atlanta has attracted millions of people, but I was actually born in Atlanta in 1959, at what was then called Georgia Baptist Hospital on Boulevard, not far from what is now the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library. As an actual native of the city, and still having many friends and family in the area, quite naturally I take interest in news from Atlanta, and this story makes me very angry:

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Fulton County District’s Attorney office are investigating a man’s death in a police shooting at a Wendy’s.
The GBI said 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks of Atlanta was shot and died at a hospital after surgery. An officer was treated for an injury and discharged from the hospital.
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms is holding a news conference at 5 p.m. to discuss the shooting. . . .
Atlanta Police Department first responded to the fast food location off University Avenue around 10:33 p.m. Friday night. The GBI says officers received a complaint about a man sleeping in a car in the drive-thru and cars having to drive around him.
Officers performed a field sobriety test on the man. The GBI says he failed the test and officers started to place him into custody. He resisted and a struggle happened over a Taser, according to witness reports.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Fulton County District’s Attorney office are investigating a man’s death in a police shooting at a Wendy’s.

There is video online of the incident:

This makes me angry for a lot of different reasons, most of which I explained in a post on my Facebook account:

To all my friends in the Atlanta area: Stay safe.
Last night, a drunk guy fell asleep at the wheel of his car in the parking lot of a Wendy’s restaurant. Police were called. The guy failed a sobriety test. When the cops went to put the cuffs on him, the man resisted and it turned into a fight. The guy broke free and was running away when one of the cops opened fire — SHOOTING HIM IN THE BACK. He died, and now we can expect more riots, because the drunk guy was black, and the cops were white.
This just makes me sick. I am against drunk driving, I am against resisting arrest, and I am also against shooting people in the back.
How in the world, after two weeks of riots, could these cops in Atlanta — OF ALL PLACES — do something like this?
The struggle between the officers and Rayshard Brooks was captured on a witness’s cellphone video, but the video I saw did not show what Brooks was doing when the shots were fired, so I don’t know if there was some extenuating circumstance. But a matter of policy, training and plain old common sense is involved. There should never be a situation where a suspect being arrested is able to overpower the arresting officers. These cops should have called for backup. I suppose hindsight is 20/20, of course. Two cops should be able to handle one drunk, right? But it would have been safer to have more officers on the scene.
And why shoot a fleeing suspect WHEN YOU’VE GOT HIS CAR?
That’s the stupidest thing about this whole mess. You are busting a guy for drunk driving. You have his license and his car. If he takes off running on foot, it’s not like he’s going to get away with it, right? Just get on the radio and call in assistance to search for the fugitive. I’m looking at this video and noticing that the cops seemed young. How much experience did they have? How much training?
Also: Two WHITE cops? In ATLANTA?
I do not believe in hiring quotas, but one would think that, in 2020, Atlanta PD would have enough black officers that there would have been at least one black cop on the scene of this arrest of a black suspect in a majority-black neighborhood.
Anyway, Atlanta is my hometown, and it hurts very deeply to see something like this happen there. I expect the result will be a lot of angry rhetoric, inevitably leading to protests that turn into riots.
Stay safe. Prayers for Atlanta.

This never should have happened, especially not in Atlanta.


UPDATE: The city’s lesbian police chief resigned:

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields has resigned following the death of a black man at the hands of an Atlanta police officer last night.
Rayshard Brooks, 27, was shot and killed after a confrontation with police outside an Atlanta Wendy’s. Video released by the GBI appears to show Brooks take a Taser from an officer, run from police and then fire it at them before he was shot.
Bottoms said Saturday that she believes it was an unnecessary use of deadly force and she has called on the officer’s immediate termination. The officer’s name has not been released.
“While there may be a debate about whether this was an appropriate use of deadly force, I firmly believe there is a clear distinction between what you can do and what you should do,” Bottoms said. “I have called for the immediate termination of the officer.”
Bottoms said Shields will be reassigned within the department.

Erika Shields has been the police chief since 2016.

It is good that the mayor admits “there may be a debate” over whether it was “appropriate” for the officer to shoot. Obviously, a suspect who decides he wants to fight the cops is always in danger of being shot, because the cop always has a gun, and if the fight becomes a struggle for control of that weapon — well, it’s a life-or-death situation. Still, I hate to see this happen in my hometown, and hope the mayor can keep things calm.




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