Prominent Atlantans weigh in on death of Rayshard Brooks

Stacey Abrams, Bernice King, Lil Yachty speak out about the officer-involved shooting on Friday night in Atlanta

Protestors block University Ave. at the Atlanta Wendy's where Rayshard Brooks, a 27-year-old Black man, was shot and killed by Atlanta police Friday evening during a struggle in a Wendy's drive-thru line. Steve Schaefer for the Atlanta Journal Constitution

On Friday night, 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks was shot and killed in an officer-involved shooting in Atlanta.

The incident, which took place in a Wendy’s drive-thru line, happened as protests continue to take place across the country following the death of George Floyd late last month in Minneapolis.

On Saturday evening, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said at a news conference that she did not believe Friday’s shooting “was a justified use of deadly force and have a call for the immediate termination of the officer.”

Bottoms also announced Chief Erika Shields is stepping aside and the city will launch a search for her replacement.

» Atlanta protests: Live updates from response to Rayshard Brooks shooting

In the last couple weeks, prominent Atlantans have been a large part of the national dialogue about racism and police violence, including Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, whose May 29 press conference drew nationwide attention. She was then joined by Atlanta hip-hop stars T.I. and Killer Mike.

But on Saturday morning, as people began reacting to Friday’s deadly shooting, both on the ground and on social media, it was Atlanta rapper Lil Yachty who was among the first to post about Brooks’ death.

The Rev. Bernice King also posted an initial reaction on Twitter, asking "why were the police even called?" to the scene. Later in the day on Saturday, King added "Bottom line: #RayshardBrooks should be alive. His death reflects that low to no value was placed on his life."

Former gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams said Brooks’ death “demands we severely restrict the use of deadly force.”

As messages were posted on social media, a crowd of protesters gathered at the Wendy’s on University Avenue.

“This is the new ground zero,” said John Wade, a leader of the demonstration at the Wendy’s on University Avenue where Brooks was killed. “Another man was taken right at this spot.”

Local and state elected officials also weighed in on social media:

Stranger Things actor Randy Havens tweeted at the city of Atlanta’s account. Meanwhile, some awaited a statement from city leadership, including former state senator and mayoral candidate Vincent Fort. Mayor Bottoms gave a press conference shortly after 5 p.m.