The fatal shooting of a black man by a white Atlanta police officer and the death of another black man found hanging from a tree outside a city hall in California ignited new anti-racism protests over the weekend.
Early Sunday, Atlanta police announced that an officer, Garrett Rolfe, had been fired following the fatal shooting of Rayshard Brooks, 27, on Friday night, and another officer, Devin Brosnan, had been placed on administrative duty. On Saturday, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms had called for the immediate firing of the officer who opened fire on Brooks and announced that she had accepted the resignation of Police Chief Erika Shields.
“I do not believe that this was a justified use of deadly force,” Bottoms said.
Roughly 150 protesters marched outside the Wendy’s restaurant where Brooks was shot, reigniting demonstrations that had largely simmered in the Georgia capital nearly three weeks after George Floyd, another black man, died after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed a knee to his neck. Both Rolfe and Brosnan are white.
The Wendy’s was set aflame at one point Saturday night, although the fire was out before midnight. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said that Brooks, who was seen on body camera video sleeping in a car blocking the Wendy’s drive thru, failed a sobriety test and was shot in a struggle over a police Taser.
In Palmdale, California, hundreds of people on Saturday marched to demand an investigation into the death of Robert Fuller, 24, 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 Saturday 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 toppling of the bust of John McDonogh was yet another episode in the rapidly unfolding movement to take down Confederate statues in the U.S. and reassess monuments to historical figures worldwide.
Also Saturday, 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.
European protesters sought to show solidarity with their American counterparts and to confront bias in their own countries on Sunday. The demonstrations also posed a challenge to policies intended to limit crowds to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
In Milan, Italy, protesters scrawled ‘’rapist’’ and ‘’racist’’ in Italian on the statue of a late Italian journalist who had acknowledged having had a 12-year-old Eritrean bride while stationed in the Italian colony on the horn of Africa in the 1930s. The statue of Indro Montanelli, inside a Milan park that bears his name, has been a flashpoint in Italy’s Black Lives Matter protests.
In Germany, protesters in Berlin on Sunday planned a 9-kilometer (5 ½-mile) chain in a message against racism, among a range of other causes. Demonstrators were linked by colored ribbons, forming what organizers called a “ribbon of solidarity” that stretched southeast from the Brandenburg Gate to the Neukoelln neighborhood.