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Rayshard Brooks family demands justice as shooting ruled a homicide

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Outrage: Marchers protest against racial inequality and the death of Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo: USA Today Network

Outrage: Marchers protest against racial inequality and the death of Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo: USA Today Network

Alex Hicks Jr.-USA TODAY NETWORK

Outrage: Marchers protest against racial inequality and the death of Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo: USA Today Network

Relatives of black American Rayshard Brooks, many of them in tears, called for justice and "drastic change" in policing yesterday in the wake of his death after an Atlanta officer fatally shot him in the back.

The city's mayor has called for a shake-up in the force.

The death of Mr Brooks (27), which the Medical Examiner's office ruled a homicide, was the latest killing of a black man to kindle nationwide outrage at police brutality and racial injustice.

The post-mortem examination concluded that Mr Brooks died from blood loss and damage to internal organs after being shot twice in the back.

Officer Garrett Rolfe, who fired the fatal shots, has been fired, and the other officer at the scene, Devin Brosnan, has been placed on administrative duty.

Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shield resigned a day after the shooting.

A decision on whether to charge either of the officers is expected tomorrow.

"We're tired and we are frustrated. Most importantly, we're heartbroken, so we need justice for Rayshard Brooks," his cousin, Tiara Brooks, said at a family news conference.

"The trust that we have in the police force is broken. The only way to heal some of these wounds is through a conviction and a drastic change in the police department," she added.

Family members spoke of Mr Brooks as a warm family man who loved to take his daughter skating. One man, after breaking down in tears, left distraught, shouting, "Somebody took my cousin!"

More than 1,000 people marched on the state capitol in Atlanta calling for justice for Mr Brooks and for other African Americans killed.

"We are going to take over the Capitol every single day until they do their job," the Reverend James Woodall, president of a state civil rights group, told the crowd.

As protesters chanted for justice, the Georgia Assembly rebooted its 2020 session with a renewed call to pass a hate-crime law.

Georgia is one of four US states without a hate-crime law on the books.

The laws add punishments to offences deemed racially motivated.

The death of Mr Brooks, and the separate shooting of the unarmed black jogger Ahmaud Marquez Arbery (25) near the coastal town of Brunswick on February 23 involving a former officer, have driven calls for racial justice in the state.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Bottoms said she would issue a series of administrative orders to accelerate a review of policing.

She told a city council meeting yesterday there was a need to review the department's use of force and training.

Meanwhile, President Trump yesterday said he will sign an executive order on police reform and hold a news conference today after weeks of nationwide protests sparked by the death of African-American George Floyd in police custody.

Mr Trump also said the shooting by police of Brooks in Atlanta was a terrible situation and very disturbing.

No details of the executive order were released.

Irish Independent