A majority of police officers in two Atlanta city zones did not show up for work on Friday as part of an extended protest against the charges that have been brought against officers in the shooting death of Rayshard Brooks, CNN is reporting.
Brooks was fatally shot by officers during an incident in a Wendy's restaurant parking lot, with video footage showing police shooting the man as he ran away from them holding a taser he had taken from officers, appearing to point it toward them. Both of the officers involved in the shooting, Garrett Rolfe and Devin Brosnan, have since been criminally charged in his death. Rolfe faces a charge of felony murder along with 10 other counts and has been fired. Brosnan was charged with aggravated assault for allegedly standing on Brooks' shoulders as he was dying from the gunshot wound.
A large number of Atlanta police officers have protested against the charges by not showing up for shifts, the report noted, with others refusing to leave their precincts unless another officer needed backup. Friday marks the third consecutive day of this protest, with the department reportedly taking officers assigned to major crime units on street duty to answer 911 calls.
Rodney Bryant, the city's interim police chief, told officers in an email obtained by CNN on Friday that he understands why they are angry at the charges. Bryant added that he supported the officers.
"I'm not here to try to convince you that your anger and fear are not real," he wrote. "What I am here to tell is that that we — all of us who wear a badge — are in this together and we support you."Atlanta has become a focal point for a larger movement calling for greater accountability of police and an end to brutality against people of color. Nationwide protests in the wake of George Floyd's death in Minneapolis have called on local and state governments to take action against officers who abuse their power and to strip some of the measures that protect them from facing prosecution or lawsuits. Others have called for police department budgets to be slashed and for more money to be invested into building communities instead.
But police in a number of cities have pushed back against what they see as unfair criticism. As The Inquisitr noted, the NYPD is reportedly planning a July 4 strike in order to show how important the officers are to the city.