The Georgia chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots networks, today released the following statements on the shooting of Rayshard Brooks, a Black man who was shot and killed by Atlanta Police on Friday night at a Wendy’s drive-thru. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has been asked to investigate the videotaped killing. This is reportedly the 48th officer-involved shooting GBI has been asked to investigate this year.
“We mourn for Rayshard Brooks’ family, and particularly his three daughters, who now must grow up without their dad because a police officer shot and killed him as he was running away,” said Nichole Villafane, a volunteer with Georgia Moms Demand Action and a member of the Everytown Survivor Network. “This is a heartbreaking crisis that deserves not just our attention, but our action. We must all work tirelessly to dismantle systemic racism, which endangers Black and brown communities across Georgia and the nation.”
“Rayshard Brooks should be alive today,” said Jacqueline Azah, a volunteer with Students Demand Action at Clark Atlanta University. “In this critical moment, we need to listen and amplify the voices in Black communities who have been fighting against racism for decades, and demand that our leaders work to explore bold ideas to rethink public safety.”
Black people in the United States are more likely to be killed by law enforcement than their white counterparts, and data from The Guardian shows that most people killed by police in the United States are killed with guns. According to Mapping Police Violence, Black people account for only 13 percent of the US population but are three times more likely to be shot and killed by police than white people. Overall, 265 people have been killed by police between 2013 and 2019 in Georgia.
Research finds that meaningful use of force policies can reduce police shootings. By encouraging de-escalation, utilizing early intervention systems, and ensuring that officers who act in a manner that is criminally negligent can be held accountable, use of force policies can ensure that laws help advance safety and promote trust in the police.
In Georgia, Black people are six times as likely as white people to die by gun homicide. More information about gun violence in Georgia is available here.