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Tyler Perry to pay for Rayshard Brooks’ funeral

Click to play video: 'Protesters set fire to Wendy’s restaurant where Rayshard Brooks was fatally shot by police' Protesters set fire to Wendy’s restaurant where Rayshard Brooks was fatally shot by police
Protesters in Atlanta on Saturday night set fire to the Wendy’s restaurant where Rayshard Brooks was stopped by police for a suspected DUI on Friday evening. – Jun 14, 2020

Tyler Perry is covering the cost for the funeral of Rayshard Brooks, who was killed in a scuffle with Atlanta police outside a fast-food drive-thru and was shot twice in the back.

On Monday, lawyer L. Chris Stewart said during a press conference that the Diary of a Mad Black Woman star will cover Brooks’ funeral costs.

“We do want to acknowledge and thank Tyler Perry, who we spoke with and who will be taking care of the funeral for the family,” Stewart said.

READ MORE: Rayshard Brooks death: How a sobriety test in Atlanta quickly turned deadly

“It’s support like that and it’s people who are actually in this community, that love the community, that want healing, and (want) families like this to never have to go through something like this. It’s a step forward,” Stewart added.

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The killing of 27-year-old Brooks as he tried to flee after wrestling with officers and grabbing a Taser has rekindled protests in Atlanta that erupted in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, Minn., on May 25. The Wendy’s restaurant where Brooks was shot was burned down over the weekend.

An autopsy Sunday concluded that Brooks died from blood loss and damage to internal organs after being shot twice in the back, the Fulton County medical examiner’s office said in a news release.

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.

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Click to play video: 'Atlanta police release footage of interaction leading up to fatal shooting of Rayshard Brooks' Atlanta police release footage of interaction leading up to fatal shooting of Rayshard Brooks
Atlanta police release footage of interaction leading up to fatal shooting of Rayshard Brooks – Jun 14, 2020

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said he hopes to decide by midweek whether to charge either of the officers. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation was placed in charge of the investigation.

Brooks was shot late Friday after police were called amid complaints that a car was blocking the drive-thru lane. An officer found Brooks asleep in the car, had him move it to a parking space and began a sobriety check.

Video from the two officers’ body cameras and dash-mounted cameras on their cruisers showed Brooks co-operating for more than 40 minutes, telling them he had had a couple of drinks while celebrating his daughter’s birthday and consenting to a breath test.

READ MORE: Tyler Perry shocks seniors by paying for their groceries at more than 70 stores

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The video shows Brooks’ alcohol level at 0.108 per cent higher than the legal limit in Georgia. When one of the officers takes Brooks’ left wrist and moves to handcuff him, Brooks tries to run and the officers take him to the ground.

As Brooks fights to stand, Brosnan presses a Taser to his leg and threatens to stun him. Brooks grabs the Taser and pulls it away. He struggles to his feet, the Taser in his hand, and starts running.

Click to play video: 'Protesters rally in Atlanta following shooting death of Rayshard Brooks' Protesters rally in Atlanta following shooting death of Rayshard Brooks
Protesters rally in Atlanta following shooting death of Rayshard Brooks – Jun 13, 2020

Rolfe fires his Taser, and a yelp can be heard above the weapon’s electric crackle. Rolfe runs after Brooks, and seconds later three gunshots are heard.

Both officers’ body cameras were knocked to the ground in the struggle, and none of the four police cameras captured the shooting. Footage released from a Wendy’s security camera showed Brooks turn and point an object at one of the officers, who was steps behind him. The officer draws his gun and fires.

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The Brooks family’s lawyer noted on NBC’s Today show on Monday that Brooks was shot from a distance, carrying what the officers knew to be a non-lethal weapon, and couldn’t have gotten away since they had his driver’s licence.

“They could have easily waited and caught him later or let him be blocked in by the officer who was responding. It was just unnecessary,” Stewart said.

—With files from The Associated Press

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