Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields resigns in wake of fatal shooting
Erika Shields, Atlanta police chief, has resigned, according to Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.
Shields has held this position since December 2016. Shields will continue to run the department in a role to be determined.
"It has become very clear that in the past few weeks in Atlanta we have had a police force full of men and women who work with respect and dignity alongside our communities," Bottoms said in a statement. "There was and should be a discrepancy with our expectations when it comes to interactions with our officials and the communities to whom they are entrusted for protection."
"Chief Erica Shields has been a solid member of the APD for over two decades and has a deep and constant love for the people of Atlanta," she continued. "And because of their desire that Atlanta be a model for what a sensible reform should look like in this country, Chief Shields has offered to step down immediately as the chief of police so that the city can move forward urgently and rebuild the much-needed trust in our country can communities. "
MORE: Man dies after being shot by the Atlanta police at Wendy's, GBI
Former deputy chief of police Rodney Bryant will act as a provisional chief of police as the city immediately begins a national search for a new tour to restore confidence in the community.
The move takes place just a few hours after a man identified as Rayshard Brooks was shot by the police on a transit passage by Wendy after the police said he had aimed a taser at an official while running away from law enforcement.
"I firmly believe that there is a clear difference between what you can do and what you should do," Bottoms said at a press conference on the official's actions. "I do not believe that this was a justified use of lethal violence and have called for the officer to be fired immediately."
PHOTO: In this photo from May 30, 2020, the Mayor of Atlanta, Keisha Lance Bottoms, announces a 9:00 p.m. Curfew as protests against George Floyd's death continue. (Ben Gray / Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP, file)
Shields had also asked for the official to be fired immediately, stating that the other official concerned had been transferred to the administrative service.
"I've been working alongside some of the best men and women in the Atlanta Police Department for more than two decades," said Shields in a statement after she resigned. "Out of deep and constant love for this city and this department, I have offered to step down as chief of police. APD has my full support and Mayor Bottoms has my support for the future direction of this department. I have faith in the mayor and it is time for the city to move forward and build trust between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve. "
MORE: 6 Atlanta police officers charged with violently arresting students in the car
Bottoms expressed condolences to the Brooks family.
"There are no words strong enough to express how sincerely I am sorry you lost," said the mayor. "I hope that you will find some consolation in the rapid measures that have been taken today and in the major reforms that our city will implement on behalf of the countless men and women who have lost their lives in this country."
PHOTO: Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields speaks at a press conference on Thursday, March 21, 2019. (Bob Andres / Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)
The demand for a change at the head of the department grew on Saturday after Brooks' shooting.
"The Atlanta Police Department continues to terrorize protesters and murder unarmed black bodies," the NAACP said in a statement. "It is time for a new leadership and a change in the police culture. Stand by us and ask for your immediate resignation."
The shootout takes place less than two weeks after six Atlanta police officers were charged with the violent arrest of two college students sitting in their car on June 2. The two were shocked with a stun gun and physically pulled out of the car, although they did not appear to be involved in protests in the region.
The charges against the officers included serious bodily harm, pointing or aiming a weapon, a simple battery, and criminal property damage.
ABC News' J. Gabriel Ware contributed to this report.
Atlanta police chief Erika Shields resigns after fatal shots originally released on abcnews.go.com
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