Protesters shut down a major highway in Atlanta on Saturday and burned down a Wendy’s restaurant where a black man was shot dead by police as he tried to escape arrest, an incident likely to fuel more nationwide tensions over race and police tactics.
The restaurant was in flames for more than 45 minutes before fire crews arrived to extinguish the blaze, protected by a line of police officers, local television showed. By that time the building was reduced to charred rubble next to a gas station.
Other demonstrators marched onto Interstate-75, stopping traffic, before police used a line of squad cars to hold them back.
The city’s police chief, Erika Shields, resigned earlier on Saturday over the shooting on Friday night of 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks, which was captured on video.
The police department has fired the officer who allegedly shot and killed Brooks, police spokesman Carlos Campos said late on Saturday. Another officer involved in the incident was put on administrative leave. Both of the officers were white.
Brooks’ death followed weeks of demonstrations in major cities across the United States sparked by the death of George Floyd, an African American who died on May 25 after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes while detaining him.
The Atlanta officer fired after Friday’s incident was identified by the police department as Garrett Rolfe, who joined the department in October 2013. The officer placed on administrative duty is Devin Bronsan, who was hired in September 2018.
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said she had accepted the prompt resignation of police chief Shields.
Brooks was the father of a young daughter who was celebrating her birthday on Saturday, his lawyers said.
Near the scene of the shooting, street protests began on Saturday, with more than 100 people calling for the officers to be charged criminally in the case.