On June 12, two Atlanta police officers responded to a call from a local Wendy’s restaurant about a car that was blocking the drive-thru lane. The man inside the car, Rayshard Brooks, was asleep and unresponsive. The responding officers, Garrett Rolfe and Devin Brosnan, gave Brooks a breathalyzer test and determined that he was legally drunk. But when they tried to arrest him, he fought them off, grabbed a taser from one of them, and shot it at them. Rolfe returned fire and killed Brooks.
Hours later, somebody set fire to the restaurant. It has since been the scene of several riots, including one where an 8-year-old was shot and killed.
There’s only one thing left to do with that place now. Asia Simone Burns, Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
The Wendy’s where Rayshard Brooks was killed by Atlanta police last month is being torn down…
For weeks, protesters remained at the torched restaurant and refused to leave until demands for police reform and a memorial to Brooks’ memory were met.
That changed when city leaders sent officers to clear the site July 6 in response to the killing of 8-year-old Secoriea Turner, who was shot across the street from the Wendy’s during a violent July 4 weekend in Atlanta.
The suspected arsonist, Natalie White, is out of jail on a $10,000 bond. Initial reports claimed she was Brooks’ girlfriend, but then there’s this: “White’s lawyer also confirmed she is the woman Rayshard Brooks was talking about to officers, seen on bodycam video just minutes before he died, but would not elaborate out of respect for the Brooks family.” Well, that’s quite a coincidence.
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Rolfe has now been charged with felony murder, and Brosnan has been charged with felony assault. And Paul Howard, the district attorney who charged them, is facing a criminal probe from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. It’s a huge mess.
All because a guy was passed out drunk in a fast-food drive-thru line, the cops tried to arrest him, and he shot at them with their own taser. What did Secoriea Turner do to deserve what happened to her? What did the people who worked at that Wendy’s do to deserve what’s happening to them? Don’t their lives matter, too?
What are the cops supposed to do the next time something like this happens, anywhere in the United States? If a guy is passed out drunk in a drive-thru line, should the cops just let him sleep it off right there? Should the restaurant just close down for the night and send all the employees home? Better that than watch it burn, right? The cops would rather go home at the end of their shift than go to jail, wouldn’t they?
What if it’s a white guy? Is it okay to arrest him then? What if he refuses to be arrested, grabs an officer’s weapon, and attacks? Is it okay for the officer to defend himself? Should somebody burn down the restaurant in protest?
Would it get a single second of coverage on the national news?
Mob rule wins again. You can’t reason with an angry crowd, and if you coddle them and condone their violence because they’re mad about the same things you are, sooner or later the chaos will spread to your neighborhood. It will affect your friends and loved ones. You won’t like it then. It won’t be an abstraction when you’re seeing it out your window, not on an electronic screen. All the hashtags in the world won’t protect you then.
Rioting creates change, alright. It changes an ordinary neighborhood restaurant into a smoking crater. It changes an 8-year-old girl into a murder victim.