Ex-Atlanta police chief, who resigned after Black man's shooting, to head Louisville force

Police escort a police SUV from a crowd of protesters while bottles of water are thrown at them during a rally against the police shooting death of Rayshard Brooks, in Atlanta, Georgia June 13, 2020. — Reuters pic
Police escort a police SUV from a crowd of protesters while bottles of water are thrown at them during a rally against the police shooting death of Rayshard Brooks, in Atlanta, Georgia June 13, 2020. — Reuters pic

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ATLANTA, Jan 7 ― The former police chief of Atlanta, who resigned in June after the fatal shooting of an African-American man by an Atlanta police officer, has been appointed head of the Louisville Metro Police Department.

Erika Shields stepped down after the killing of Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta and will arrive in a city still gripped by the fatal shooting of Black emergency medical technician Breonna Taylor, who was killed in a botched raid in March.

Brooks was fatally shot in June in the parking lot of a Wendy's restaurant in Atlanta, an incident that was caught on video and set off days of protests over racial inequality and social injustice.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced Shields' appointment yesterday, describing her as an “experienced, progressive, reform-minded leader”. She will be sworn in on January 19.

Taylor's death, when police entered her apartment in Louisville, Kentucky, early on March 13, was one of a string of killings of African-Americans that fueled protests across the United States in 2020.

Taylor's boyfriend, who was with her when police burst into the home, fired once at what he said he believed were intruders. Three police officers responded with 32 shots, six of which struck Taylor, killing her.

“I recognize that there is a lot of healing that needs to happen in policing in general, and that LMPD is at a crossroads,” Shields said after her appointment was announced.

“But I think there is also an opportunity to get this right here in Louisville, and to create a model for other cities to follow.” ― Reuters

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