June 15 — Today, protesters shouting “No justice, no peace, no racist police!” surrounded and blocked Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ car from leaving City Hall. This came after a weekend of rebellion in response to the murder of Rayshard Brooks by two white police officers in the city’s southwest, a poor working-class community.
The community’s militant response has already forced the resignation of Police Chief Erika Shields and the firing of the cop who fired the killing shots at Brooks. Like the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Rayshard Brooks’ death was captured on video which went viral.
Brooks fell asleep at a Wendy’s drive-through on Friday night, June 12. After being given a field sobriety test, a scuffle ensued when police tried to arrest him for allegedly driving under the influence — a law disproportionately enforced against Black and Latinx people in Atlanta.
The cops used a taser on Brooks and put him in a chokehold, similar to the one that killed George Floyd and sparked nationwide resistance. In fear of his life, Brooks grabbed the taser, broke out of the chokehold, and ran.
As Brooks ran, he was shot three times. Two of the shots went into his back and killed him. This has forced the Atlanta medical examiner to declare his death a homicide.
Even if Brooks was aiming the taser at the cops, as they claim, police in Georgia often testify in court to the fact that a taser is not a lethal weapon. They can’t now claim that Brooks allegedly pointing a taser at them, while he was running away and at a long distance from them, justified his murder.
Abolishing this institutionalized racist police system is the rallying cry of the most oppressed. It has never been about our safety, but instead about protecting the property and capital of the ruling class. It must be replaced with community-controlled public safety departments, specifically in the Black, Brown and Indigenous communities. Abolish the police, prisons and ICE!