Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has addressed race relations in America amid the city’s latest fatal shooting of a Black man by police.
Bottoms was moved to tears while speaking about Rayshard Brooks during a CNN townhall Sunday. The unarmed 27-year-old was killed on June 14 by Atlanta police. The Fulton County Medical Examiner’s office determined that he died of organ damage and blood loss after being shot twice in his back, theGrio reported. The manner of death has been classified as a homicide.
The mayor said America will “get to the other side of this” police brutality epidemic, which has grappled the nation since last month’s killing of George Floyd by a former member of the Minneapolis police department.
“We have implicit bias training in this city. We require people to go to the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. We have housing for our police officers in many of our communities in which they are serving in. But yet and still, it’s not enough,” said Bottoms at the town hall.
“I don’t think that we can out train our way as a country out of where we are and how we view race and how we interact with each other,” she added. “I think that while we are doing it in our police departments there is clearly a bigger conversation that has to be had across the country because we are not in a post-racial society and the biases are still there.”
According to WSB-TV 2 Atlanta, Brooks had fallen asleep in his car, causing alarm to at least one employee at the University Avenue Wendy’s fast-food restaurant. The worker called the police and after the officers confronted him, a physical altercation between Brooks and officers Garrett Rolfe and Devin Brosnan resulted in his fatal shooting.
Mayor Bottoms noted that Brooks was “not confrontational” during his encounter with law enforcement and called him, “a guy that you were rooting for.”
“Even knowing the end, watching it, you are going, ‘just let him go, just let him go, let him call somebody to pick him up,’” she said.
During a press conference on Monday, Brooks’ widow Tomika Miller urged supporters to remain peaceful during the family’s fight for justice.
“I just ask that if you could just keep it as a peaceful protest that would be wonderful, because we want to keep his name positive and great.” Miller said. She added, “There is no justice that can ever make me feel happy about what’s been done. I can never get my husband back. I can never get my best friend,” Miller explained.
“I can never tell my daughter, ‘Oh, he’s coming to take you skating or swimming lessons.’ So, this is going to be a long time before I heal. It’s going to be a long time before this family heals,” she said.
Brooks’ cousin, Tiara, told reporters, “We’re tired and we are frustrated. Most importantly we’re heartbroken, so we need justice for Rayshard Brooks.”