Rayshard Brooks: Hundreds of demonstrators march in Atlanta for criminal justice reform

Protesters rallied during the “March on Georgia” sponsored by the Georgia NAACP in Atlanta on Monday. They demanded state legislators pass criminal justice reforms, repeal citizens arrest, ensure voting rights and end police brutality. Photo by Erik S. Lesser/EPA-EFE

Up to 800 people, including the Atlanta Hawks’ head coach, joined the NAACP Monday to march in downtown Atlanta to address police brutality, the criminal justice system and voting rights.

The March for Justice peaceful protest began at 9 a.m. Monday at The Richard B. Russell Federal Building and they marched to the State Capitol.

Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields resigned Saturday following the deadly police shooting of Rayshard Brooks, but the NAACP is demanding that Shields be completely removed from the police department and no longer be an employee.

Both groups said now is the opportunity to listen to protesters in the streets who are demanding change.

“We are asking and demanding urgent action so that we can move forward as a city, community and as a state to ensure that no other family has to go through what Mr. Brooks’ family has to go through,” said Rev. James “Major” Woodall, state president of the Georgia NAACP.

Many speakers said this isn’t just a moment, it’s a movement that doesn’t stop when the protests end, it will continue for months to come.

“We are sick and tired of every week having different hashtags for innocent black lives. We are sick and tired that in Georgia, you can get killed simply for jogging,” said Jamal Bryant Sr., Pastor at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms issued an administrative order for an advisory council made up of community members to examine the city’s use of force policies and procedures. They will make recommendations for operational or legislative changes to the city’s existing use of force policies.

“We have to move past this belief that training is the issue that causes the systemic harm in our communities. We have some information that the officer involved with Mr. Brooks had been trained on use of force and had been trained on de-escalation, so there is no training regime that can undo a toxic culture,” Roberts said.

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