Savannah: Anti-racism protesters on Saturday sought to call attention to the deaths of two more black men — one who was found hanging from a tree in California and another who was fatally shot by police outside an Atlanta restaurant. The Atlanta police chief resigned hours later.
Atlanta police were called late Friday about a man said to be sleeping in a car blocking a Wendy’s restaurant drive-thru. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation was investigating reports that 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks failed a sobriety test and was shot in a struggle over a police Taser.
By Saturday evening, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced that she had accepted the resignation of Police Chief Erika Shields. The announcement came as roughly 150 protesters marched outside the restaurant. The mayor also called for the immediate firing of the officer who opened fire on Brooks.
“I do not believe that this was a justified use of deadly force,” Bottoms said.
Stacey Abrams, the Georgia Democrat who gained national prominence running for governor in 2018, tweeted that “sleeping in a drive-thru must not end in death.”
In Palmdale, California, hundreds of people marched to demand an investigation into the death of 24-year-old Robert Fuller, who was found hanging from a tree early Wednesday near city hall. The protesters marched from where the body was found to a sheriff’s station, with many carrying signs that said “Justice for Robert Fuller.”
Authorities said the death appeared to be a suicide, but an autopsy was planned. The city said there were no outdoor cameras that could have recorded what happened.
Fuller’s death has brought to light the death of another black man found hanging from a tree on May 31 in Victorville, a desert city 45 miles (72 kilometers) east of Palmdale. A sheriff’s spokeswoman, Jodi Miller, told Victor Valley News foul play was not suspected in 38-year-old Malcolm Harsch’s death but the man’s family said they were concerned it will be ruled a suicide to avoid further attention.
Protesters in New Orleans tore down a bust of a slave owner who left part of his fortune to New Orleans’ schools and then took the remains to the Mississippi River and rolled it down the banks into the water.
The police did not identify the bust but local media identified it as a bust of John McDonogh. Mayor LaToya Cantrell said in a tweet that the city “rejects vandalism and destruction of City property. It is unlawful.”
Members of the Clemson University football team led hundreds of demonstrators on the school’s campus in South Carolina. The march came a day after Clemson trustees voted to rename its honors college, stripping from the program the name of former vice president and slavery proponent John C. Calhoun.