Update 6/13/20 6:00 PM EST:
You can view a special report below from Black News Alerts and continue reading for copies of released statements and footage.
- Multiple statements from city officials have been released regarding the death of Rayshard Brooks.
- Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has accepted the resignation of Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields and called for the immediate termination of the officer who shot and killed Brooks.
- The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has released a statement and surveillance video of the incident. The surveillance video is from Wendy’s and shows Brooks running and being shot, please be mindful of this prior to watching.
- Fulton County District Attorney’s office has also released a statement regarding their independent investigation and calling for tips and video.
- Now former Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields released a brief statement.
- The termination has been called for by many officials and protesters of the officer who shot Brooks while the other officer involved has been placed on administrative duty.
- Rodney Bryant will serve as the interim police chief as a nationwide search begins for new leadership.
- We have also found a previous video of Brooks uploaded just weeks ago as he discusses policing and criminal justice practices and reforms.
Original Story published 6/13/20 12:20 PM EST:
Another officer-involved shooting occurred overnight in Atlanta, Georgia resulting in the death of Rayshard Brooks.
What We Know:
- Rayshard Brooks, 27, is said to have allegedly fallen asleep in a Wendy’s drive-thru on University Avenue in Atlanta prompting the police to be contacted.
- Police arrived on the scene and, at this point, the stories from eyewitnesses and authorities diverge:
- The authorities state a sobriety test was conducted and Brooks failed the test. They attempted to detain Brooks and a struggle over a taser ensued resulting in one of the officers to shoot him. This resulted in Brooks being taken to the hospital and dying after surgery while an officer was also taken to the hospital, treated for injuries and then released.
- Video and eyewitnesses stories allege the officers spoke with Brooks for about 20 minutes, he was not combative until the taser was pulled on him. He was then shot three times in the back as he was running away from the officers. It is also believed he died at the scene and the ambulance taking him was “performative” in nature.
- Video of the aftermath includes an account stating Brooks was in the passenger seat of the car that his wife was driving and witnesses are unclear why the interaction occurred at all if this is the case.
- The GBI is currently investigating the incident and will then hand off the case to the Fulton County District Attorney’s office for review. This is the 48th officer-involved shooting the GBI has investigated this year.
- The two officers involved in the shooting have not yet been identified yet.
- Atlanta PD has recently been under fire for the handling of protests and the assault of two Atlanta college students.
We will continue to update this story as it develops.
WARNING: Shots can be heard in the below tweet. Please be mindful of this before watching.
*Correction: In the original publishing of this article the officers were stated to have been removed from duty. This has been corrected in the update posted at 6:30 PM EST.
Classes canceled at Howard University as US Government investigates ransomware cyberattack
Howard University officials along with leading cyber experts are trying to assess what has been compromised in an active ransomware, cyberattack on the HBCU campus. Officials have deemed the attack criminal.
What We Know:
- Monday, the university issued a statement to faculty and students that “the service disruption was caused by a ransomware cyberattack against the university.”
- Classes have been canceled for Tuesday and Wednesday. Students have been notified that online and hybrid classes will remain canceled and only essential staff will be allowed on campus. All in-person undergraduate, graduate, professional, and clinical experiential courses will resume as scheduled on Wednesday.
- A ransomware attack can be triggered by simple, everyday activity. Opening a unintended link inside of can lead to a cyberattack. Computer, tablet and phone users are encouraged to change their passwords and security questions regularly.
Howard University is home to several notable high profile Black alumni such as Chadwick Boseman and Phylicia Rashad.
New Orleans 911 Operator Wanted After Allegedly Disconnecting Calls on Purpose
A New Orleans 911 operator deliberately disconnected emergency calls without obtaining necessary information or relaying the callers’ emergencies to other dispatchers, and she is now facing arrest, according to authorities.
What We Know:
- Precious Stephens, 25, is wanted on a count of malfeasance in office, and she remained at large Thursday, police said. She has been fired from her job as a 911 operator, officials said.
“(The district) has and will continue to cooperate with the … investigation into this matter and dedicated to providing any and all assistance to aid in (the) efforts.”
- Stephens worked for the Orleans Parish Communication District, which dispatches first responders to 911 calls. On Aug. 24, the district reported to police that Stephens had deliberately disconnected 911 calls without obtaining vital information or informing other dispatchers about the callers who were in need of help. The district conducted an investigation into the quality of a random set of calls when they detected the problems with Stephens during her shifts Aug. 20 and Aug. 21, officials said. A statement from the district highlighted how its own internal protocols identified the issues with Stephens, who was immediately turned over to police and dismissed from her post.
Police asked anyone who knows where Stephens is to call Crimestoppers at (504) 822-1111. Tipsters may be eligible for a cash reward.
Louisiana law defines malfeasance in office as unlawfully performing a job in public service. It can carry up to five years in prison.
R&B Star R. Kelly Jurors Summoned for Sex Trafficking Trial
The first phase of R. Kelly‘s trial began on Aug. 9 with a jury selection after several delays.
What We Know:
- U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly asked potential jurors if they could keep an open mind about Kelly as he faces charges for abusing women and girls for nearly two decades. Donnelly also reminded jurors that Kelly was presumed innocent, so they should not feel influenced by any bad publicity the singer experienced because of the accusations.
- Due to pandemic restrictions, the event took place online. Because of this, Kelly and the jurors faced difficulty popping up on the screen and the audio cut off at times.
- During the trial, jurors will expect to hear testimonies from several of Kelly’s accusers. In addition, a judge ruled that officials may only use the women’s first names. Currently, Kelly faces sex trafficking charges. Scrutiny around Kelly’s sexual behavior has followed him for decades. These include charges for child pornography. Alongside the sex-trafficking case in New York, Kelly also faces sex-related charges against him in Illinois and Minnesota.
- In addition, prosecutors might provide evidence that Kelly schemed with others to buy a fake ID for late R&B singer Aaliyah. In 1994, when Aaliyah was only 15, Kelly married and began a sexual relationship with her; it is also speculated he impregnated her. Prosecutors believe he married her so that she could not testify against him.
- In regards to his sex-trafficking trial, Kelly denies any wrongdoing; he has pleaded not guilty to leading a criminal enterprise of managers, bodyguards, and other employees who recruited women and girls for sex. Concerning the criminal enterprise, federal prosecutors reported the group found victims at concerts and other venues. After recruiting the women and children, they would make travel arrangements so they could meet with Kelly. Kelly’s lawyers claimed the victims were “groupies” who showed up at his concerts and “were dying to be with” Kelly.
The case is scheduled to officially begin on Aug. 18 with opening statements.