Atlanta awaits decision on charges in black man's killing
ATLANTA (AP) — Atlanta awaited a decision from prosecutors Wednesday on whether to bring charges against two white officers in the killing of Rayshard Brooks, the black man who was shot in the back in a case that has unfolded amid protests across the U.S. against police brutality and racial injustice.
Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard scheduled an afternoon news conference to announce his decision.
The news came as Republicans on Capitol Hill unveiled a package of police reform measures and the movement to get rid of Confederate movements and other racially offensive symbols reached America’s breakfast table, with the maker of Aunt Jemima syrup and pancake mix dropping the 131-year-old brand.
Garrett Rolfe, the officer who shot the 27-year-old Brooks on Friday night at a fast-food restaurant, was fired after the killing. Another officer, Devin Brosnan, was put on desk duty.
The shooting sparked new demonstrations in Georgia’s capital after the sometimes turbulent protests that erupted in Atlanta and across the U.S. in response to George Floyd’s death May 25 in Minneapolis under the knee of a white officer. The Wendy's where Brooks was shot was burned down after his killing.
Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields resigned less than 24 hours after Brooks died.
Police were called to the restaurant over complaints of a car blocking the drive-thru lane. An officer found Brooks asleep behind the wheel of the car, and a breath test found he was intoxicated.
Video footage showed that when police went to handcuff him, Brooks wrestled with officers, snatched one of their stun guns and pointed it at one of them as he ran through the parking lot.
An autopsy found that Brooks was shot twice in the back.
Elsewhere, Senate Republicans in Washington announced the most ambitious GOP police-reform package in years, including an enhanced use-of-force database, restrictions on chokeholds and new commissions to study law enforcement and race.
The 106-page bill is not as sweeping as a Democratic proposal set for a House vote next week, but it shows how swiftly the national debate has been transformed since Floyd's death.
The Senate’s lone black Republican, Tim Scott of South Carolina, led a task force of GOP senators in compiling the package and spoke of his own experiences being stopped by police.
“We hear you,” he said to the families of Americans killed by police. “We’re listening to your concerns.”
Meanwhile, Quaker Oats said it is getting rid of its Aunt Jemima brand because the character was “based on a racial stereotype.” And the owner of the Uncle Ben’s brand of rice said the brand will “evolve” in response to concerns about racial stereotyping.
While Aunt Jemima's image on packages was changed in recent years to make her look like a modern housewife, she was for most of her existence a stout, kerchief-wearing figure who evoked the plantation-era “Mammy” stereotype.
In the Minneapolis case, Derek Chauvin, the officer who put his knee on Floyd's neck for several minutes as he pleaded he couldn't breathe, has been charged with murder. Three other officers have been charged with aiding and abetting. All four were fired and could get up to 40 years in prison.
Matt Ott in New York and Lisa Mascaro and Jim Mustian in Washington contributed to this report.