Calm at Atlanta Wendy’s after police clear site

Credit: AJC

Atlanta police and sanitation crews have finished removing protesters and their belongings from outside the Wendy’s where Rayshard Brooks was shot and killed by an officer last month. The last concrete barricade was put in place around noon. Some of the protesters milled nearby while a worker from the BP gas station next door pulled boards off the windows.Monday’s cleanup followed a violent holiday weekend that started Saturday night when 8-year-old Secoriea Turner was fatally shot while sitting in a car near the restaurant. (Reporting by Asia Simone Burns, Joshua Sharpe, John Spink)

Credit: AJC

Officers did not respond to any incidents of violence or make any arrests overnight at the Wendy’s where Rayshard Brooks was killed last month, Atlanta police said Tuesday.

The site was cleared Monday morning of protesters who had encamped at the restaurant for weeks and had refused to leave until demands for police reform and a memorial to Brooks' memory were met.

Protesters were forced off the property by Atlanta police, who'd been sent by city leaders to clear the parking lot amid outrage over the death of 8-year-old Secoriea Turner.

The child was shot Saturday while sitting in a car near the Wendy’s. She was the youngest of five people killed during a violent holiday weekend in Atlanta that saw more than 30 others injured in shootings across the city.

ALSO: 5 dead, more than 2 dozen injured in Atlanta holiday weekend shootings

Officers were on patrol in the area around the restaurant overnight, Atlanta police spokesman Officer Steve Avery told AJC.com early Tuesday morning. He did not specify how long patrols would continue in the area or how the city plans to keep the protesters away from the site.

The Georgia National Guard also experienced a “peaceful” first night in Atlanta as they stood watch Monday at the state Capitol in downtown Atlanta, the Governor’s Mansion in Buckhead and the recently vandalized Georgia Department of Public Safety headquarters in southeast Atlanta.

The weekend violence prompted Gov. Brian Kemp to issue an emergency order deploying as many as 1,000 troops to the city. The goal is to free up police for other law enforcement duties, according to Maj. Gen. Thomas Carden Jr., Georgia’s adjutant general.

RELATED: Georgia Guardsmen experience 'peaceful' first night in Atlanta

MORE: Group vandalizes state public safety HQ, causes 'extensive damage'

Credit: AJC

The goal, according to the governor?s office, is to free up state troopers from those locations so they can help patrol the streets of Atlanta.

Credit: AJC

“Peaceful protests were hijacked by criminals with a dangerous, destructive agenda. Now, innocent Georgians are being targeted, shot and left for dead,” Kemp said. “This lawlessness must be stopped and order restored in our capital city.”

The governor’s aides said earlier Monday that his emergency powers grant him the authority to deploy Georgia National Guard troops to Atlanta’s streets.

His allies expressed hope that his decision would help return a sense of calm to a city in desperate need of it.

“With the absence of order, there can be no peace. The actions of the governor will hopefully restore order to our city and to various parts of our state,” said Rich Thompson, the vice-chair of the Fulton County GOP.

“In the interest of protecting the personal property and law-abiding citizens of Georgia, it was a good move.”

State Democrats, meanwhile, criticized Kemp for using his executive powers to protect buildings — one where he works, the other where he lives — instead of people.

“For months, we have begged the governor to take serious steps to stop COVID-19 from decimating our communities, but he refuses,” said state Sen. Nikema Williams, who chairs the state Democratic Party. “His choice to deploy National Guard troops for today's selfish purpose is outrageous and will endanger lives.”