Armed protesters stood guard on Tuesday at an Atlanta-area Wendy’s, the site where Rayshard Brooks, a black man shot twice in the back by an Atlanta police officer, died earlier this month.
Earlier in the day, a group of people had “taken over” the burned-out property in South Atlanta, according to local reports.
People living in the area also have complained that the protesters who remained were no longer peaceful, but instead were using the space for their own gain and at times blocking people on the street from getting by.
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They claimed the Atlanta police weren’t doing much to solve the problem, making life for those living in the neighborhood a living nightmare.
“My husband literally just missed getting caught in the crossfire when he was on his way home,” Kimberlee Jones told WXIA. “People have been shot and have been hurt.”
Jones has been living about a mile from the Wendy’s where Brooks was shot and said it’s been physically difficult to get to her neighborhood ever since the group took over the parking lot and began wreaking havoc.
She added that her mother tried to get to her house — but people who had put up a crude roadblock stopped her.
“They wouldn’t let her through and she felt intimidated,” Jones, a leader of the South Atlanta Civil League neighborhood association, said.
Over the weekend, two shootings in the area resulted in injuries.
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A demonstrator also attacked a police officer after a man and woman claimed a mob of people stopped their car and attacked them as they tried to drive past the Wendy’s.
“It’s scary to have someone come after you like that,” one of the victims told WSB-TV. “We take their side. We weren’t being disrespectful. We were just trying to get on the interstate. I was hit in the arms and the face and legs with the boulder.”
The unrest in Atlanta had some leaders arguing that police largely were missing in action.
“Sad situation someone today and yesterday at Wendy’s that is blocked off by armed young men with long guns and pistols,” City Council President Felicia Moore tweeted over the weekend. “All businesses surrounded are boarded. The tension is in the air and emotions are raw. Police are not in sight. Is this Atlanta? No! We must rise up!”
Calls made by Fox News to the Atlanta police department for comment were not immediately returned and there has been no official statement about the arrest from the mayor’s office or the police department.
However, WSB-TV claimed multiple police sources told them the authorities, now traveling in pairs, have been patrolling the area from “a distance.”
The civil unrest came as Brooks’ family and friends gathered Tuesday at Atlanta’s historic Ebenezer Baptist Church for his funeral.
The Rev. Bernice A. King, the daughter of the late civil rights leader and CEO of The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, spoke at the service.
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“We really should not be here today, this should not have happened to Rayshard,” King said.
She also spoke of Brooks’ four children and her own experience of losing a father and called for police reform so that officers cannot “continue to hide behind badges and trainings and policies and procedures rather than regarding the humanity of others in general and black lives specifically.”