In the days since Rayshard Brooks was killed while attacking and fleeing police at an Atlanta Wendy’s on June 12, armed protest mobs have taken to controlling access to the area, blocking streets enabled by a weak response by police and city leaders. Saturday night, an 8-year-old girl was killed when the car she was riding in near the Wendy’s was blocked by an armed protest mob that opened fire on the car, according to police.
WGCL-TV’s Iyani Hughes reported police said the shooting was by “armed protesters”:
“Police say the girl was the passenger in a car that got off the interstate. The car was headed down University Avenue and was stopped by armed protesters near the intersection of University and Pryor Road. Now at some point police say an altercation broke out and then came the gunfire. That’s when the child was shot.”
— Marjorie Taylor Greene 🇺🇸 (@mtgreenee) July 5, 2020
Google Maps shows the location of the shooting as being across the street from the Wendy’s, which is “temporarily closed” after peaceful protesters set it on fire.
24 people were reported shot in Atlanta overnight Saturday:
VIOLENT INDEPENDENCE DAY: *24 people* were shot overnight in Atlanta
…including an 8yo girl on Pryor Rd (who was tragically killed)
…and 14 people on Auburn Ave, a few blocks from MLK memorial (2 are in critical condition, the rest are stable)
^says APD @FOX5Atlanta pic.twitter.com/U3APp1NveW
— Emilie Ikeda (@EmilieIkedaNBC) July 5, 2020
The Intercept’s George Chidi (a former US Army combat correspondent) was attacked by armed protesters when he visited the area around the Wendy’s a few weeks back to report on the protests. Excerpt from his Intercept report published June 24:
ON SATURDAY NIGHT, barricades blocked the street on one side of the charred ruins of the Wendy’s drive-thru where an Atlanta police officer killed Rayshard Brooks a week ago, on June 12. Cars cordoned off the other side. There, a Black man with an AR-15 was standing guard, stopping white people from entering the site.
What began last week as a vigil for Brooks had transformed into something more militant. Amid the selfie-taking teenagers and people hawking Black Lives Matter T-shirts at the crowded convenience store nearby, a band of armed young Black men milled about. They bore pistols and long guns, with gaudy accessories redolent of modern militia equipage: an extended pistol magazine here, a cheap scope there.
Police slowly rolled by the corner of Pryor Street and University Drive every five or 10 minutes, warily observing. The cops, many of whom have been calling in sick, are effectively on strike…
…I did not know before I arrived that earlier that day people had smashed a car window and punched a white guy who had been driving through the area. I also didn’t know that they had been harassing and assaulting livestreamers.
At around 10 p.m., someone started shooting. I don’t know what they were shooting at. When someone then started to return fire, people took cover as best they could and others went into defensive firing positions. No one imposed command and control. There was no after-action review.
The crowd of 500 dwindled to a crowd of about 50. I walked up to a group of young men with guns that was gingerly disarming someone they didn’t know. A woman in the group angrily accused me of being with the mysterious armed man. I had introduced myself to her as a journalist earlier that evening.
She and three men confronted me when they saw a cellphone in my hand, concerned that I had taken their pictures. I had not. They demanded my phone. I wouldn’t hand over my phone to a police officer, and I wasn’t going to give it to them. When I refused, one armed man said he would kill me.
He started counting down from 10 with his hand on his pistol. At five, I said I was leaving and walked away. I was punched about a half a dozen times by at least three different people before I managed to escape. I was unarmed. I did not fight back. And I did not run. In retrospect, I’m not sure why I didn’t…
End excerpt. Please read the complete Intercept article by George Chidi at this link to learn more about the armed Black Lives Matter vigilantes in Atlanta.
In a report on June 23, WGCL’s Trason Bragg said he and his cameraman were the only media “allowed” to cover the protest that day. Black Lives Matter protesters said they were armed because police had reportedly called out sick in protest over charges against the officers in the deadly Rayshard Brooks shooting and because they had been allegedly shot at by a white man.
The next day Atlanta police cleared the barricades set up by armed protesters that prevented residents from entering their own neighborhoods, but apparently not for long.