Woman arrested over torching of Wendy's where Rayshard Brooks died
By Rich McKay
ATLANTA (Reuters) - A woman accused of setting fire to Wendy's Atlanta fast food restaurant where police shot Rayshard Brooks in the parking lot was arrested on Tuesday for suspected arson.
29-year-old Natalie White was taken into custody by Fulton County Sheriff MPs the same day that Brooks, a black man killed by a white officer, was buried after a funeral at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.
White's arrest was announced by the sheriff's office on Twitter. The district prison phone line said White was booked for two first-degree arson attacks. The identity of her lawyer could not be determined immediately.
The 27-year-old Brooks repeatedly referred to a "Natalie White" as his girlfriend in interviews with the police who interviewed him before he was killed. This emerges from video footage of an official's body camera. However, his relationship with the arrested woman has not been independently verified.
Brooks' death on June 12 exacerbated tensions over police brutality and racial prejudice in U.S. law enforcement agencies that have raged in Minneapolis since the end of May since George Floyd's murder in police custody.
The chain of events that led to Brook's death began when Wendy's employees called the police to report that he had fallen asleep in his car on the thoroughfare.
According to the prosecutor, what began as a cordial encounter with the police became a physical struggle. Brooks grabbed one of the officers' tasers and ran across the parking lot when he was shot from behind.
Wendy's socket was burned down during protests that night and into the next morning. The fire is being investigated by the Atlanta Fire Department.
The officer who shot Brooks was released and charged with murder. A second officer was placed on the administrative service and charged with assault.
(Rich McKay reporting in Atlanta; additional reporting and writing by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; editing by Leslie Adler and Jane Wardell)
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