Monday morning news – June 15, 2020


Atlanta police fire officer for shooting of black man » Atlanta police said Sunday the department fired a police officer for the fatal shooting of a black man who resisted arrest. 

The news came after the death of Rayshard Brooks at a Wendy’s restaurant in Atlanta became the new focal point of protests. 

AUDIO: [SOUND OF PROTESTS]

Peaceful protests Saturday gave way to rioters after sunset, who lit the restaurant on fire.

AUDIO: [SOUND OF EMERGENCY RESPONSE] 

The shooting happened Friday night, though the interaction began peacefully. Two police officers found 27-year-old Brooks asleep in his car in the drive-thru line. Authorities released officer bodycam footage on Sunday. Officer Devin Brosnan is heard here…

AUDIO: What’s up man? Did you have a long day or something, what’s up? [SIC] Alright yeah, it’s just you can’t—people were calling saying you blocking [the line]. You good? You don’t need an ambulance or anything like that? Are you just tired? 

Brooks was cooperative and his interaction with police was friendly until he failed a breathalyzer test and an officer tried to handcuff him.  

He fought the arrest, wrestled a taser from one of the patrolmen and ran. Video footage showed officer Garrett Rolfe giving chase with his sidearm still holstered until Brooks aimed the taser back at him and appeared to fire it. At that point, Rolfe grabbed his service weapon and fired, striking Brooks who died at the hospital after surgery.

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms told reporters she did not believe deadly force was warranted. 

BOTTOMS: While there may be debate about whether this was an appropriate use of deadly force, I firmly believe that there is a clear distinction between what you can do and what you should do.

The police department fired Rolfe and placed Brosnan on administrative duty.

Police Chief Erika Shields resigned Saturday after nearly four years at the head of the department. 

Minneapolis police officers quit citing lack of support » Meantime, in Minneapolis, at least seven police officers have quit and others are reportedly preparing to resign. 

Police department officials told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that officers are leaving, citing a lack of support from the city. The Tribune reports that “morale has sunk to new lows in recent weeks” and that many officers feel misunderstood and villainized. 

In the wake of George Floyd’s death in police custody last month, the majority of the city council has voiced support for defunding the Minneapolis Police Dept. 

Officials voice concern over coronavirus spread » As police protests continue across the country, some medical experts are renewing their warnings that the mass gatherings are a perfect breeding ground for the coronavirus. 

Twenty-two states have recently seen a rise in new cases for a variety of reasons.

Michael Osterholm heads disease research at the University of Minnesota. 

OSTERHOLM: Five percent of the population has been infected to date with this virus, some locations slightly higher. This virus is not going to rest till it gets to about 60 or 70 percent. 

Osterholm said “One way or another, we’re going to see a lot of additional cases out there.” As for why the virus is rising in nearly two-dozen states right now—he said—we simply don’t know what’s happening.

OSTERHOLM: What we’re really talking about here now is what does reopening do. What did the protests do? 

The country’s top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday that the protests are potential hotspots for infection and that is a concern. 

He also told the Telegraph that the virus—quote—“could go on for a couple of cycles, coming back and forth.” And he added that it will likely be “within a year or so” before the country and world truly return to normal.

States, companies working around virus amid reopening » With that in mind, an increasing number of states and companies are trying to find a new normal, learning to live and work around the coronavirus for now. 

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Sunday that as of July 6th, kids in his state can get back to playing ball. 

CUOMO: We’re also opening low-risk youth sports in Phase Three. Young people can engage in sports, two spectators per child. So that’s another step toward return to normalcy.

Meantime, in Florida, two more theme parks are again open for business with new safeguards in place. SeaWorld in Orlando and Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay welcomed their first weekend guests in about three months. 

Safety measures are similar to those at Universal Orlando, which reopened last week. Among them, everyone receives a temperature check before entering, and guests are required to wear masks. At Universal, thrill-seekers now wait for rides in virtual lines, checking in on a smartphone app. 

Disney World and California’s Disneyland are slated to reopen next month.

Gas prices climb with demand » As more drivers get back on the road, demand for gas is up. And as fuel price analyst Trilby Lundberg notes that means prices are up as well. 

LUNDBERG: The average prices up 11 cents to $2.16 for regular grade. And it’s a total climb of 23 cents over the past seven weeks. 

The lowest average price for regular unleaded—$1.69 a gallon in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Hawaii has the  highest prices at $3.11 a gallon.


(Alyssa Pointer/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP) Protesters march from Atlanta Police Department headquarters to a Wendy’s, nearly 4 miles away, Sunday, June 14, 2020, in Atlanta. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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