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After multiple reports about armed protesters in the Atlanta area where Rayshard Brooks was killed, Fox News confirmed their presence with an interview.
Fox News reporter Steve Harrigan spoke to individuals on the air Tuesday, with one of them holding a long rifle who said that police are “not allowed” in the area.
(Source: Fox News)
Earlier reports on Wednesday indicated that a group of people had “taken over” the area around the Wendy’s in South Atlanta, setting up roadblocks and allegedly carrying weapons near the burned-out building location where Brooks, a black man shot by an Atlanta police officer after resisting arrest and fleeing with a taser, died earlier this month.
“A few minutes ago, you asked me if there was an armed standoff outside of the Wendy’s here. I said that was not correct. I was wrong,” Harrigan told Fox News host Sean Hannity on “Hannity” Wednesday night. “I have seen three long guns since I’ve been here, no police in sight, there is a roadblock in sight.”
One of the men on camera with Harrigan told him he was holding a firearm because police were no longer in the area to protect people.
“I have a 12-gauge shotgun, it’s for me and the rest of my people to protect us and also me because as you guys know, there is no police presence here, there’s no one else to protect us,” he said. “So me and my fellow brothers are here to protect each other.”
Harrigan told Hannity that “across the road, I saw another long rifle and I saw a third, so at least three here up around the Wendy’s, no sign of any police.”
Sad situation someone today and yesterday at Wendy’s that is blocked off by armed young men with long guns and pistols. All businesses surrounding are boarded. The tension is in the air and emotions are raw. Police are not in sight. Is this Atlanta? No! We must rise up! pic.twitter.com/At86bIAQYL
— Felicia Moore (@FeliciaAMoore) June 21, 2020
The reporter asked the men about the incident with Brooks and whether the police officers involved in the shooting deserve due process and a fair trial.
“Everyone deserves due process but justice should be served. What he did wasn’t right,” the man with the firearm replied. “I understand you lost the fight…let him go, arrest him another day. There was no reason to kill that man.”
“Tell me, where’s is going from here? You’ve got a shotgun, I see three more rifles, where is it going to go, what happens if the police come?” Harrigan asked.
“The police aren’t allowed here because they’re not here to protect us,” the man with the shotgun said.
“Respectfully, according to Georgia law, a taser was a deadly weapon. We know that Rayshard Brooks turned and fired at the officer. That’s a deadly weapon, do they know that? According to the law,” Hannity asked.
The men insisted the taser is not, in fact, a “deadly weapon,” with a third man saying “you can’t kill anybody with a taser, but you can stun them.”
“But also under the Georgia law, it’s considered a nonlethal weapon,” the armed man said. “So either it is or it isn’t.”
“So in that case, we get hit with deadly weapons all the time,” another man said.
Although the Atlanta Police Department had reported that officers were still responding to emergency calls, many had been calling out sick after the officer involved in the shooting was fired, arrested and charged with murder. The Atlanta police chief also resigned.
Earlier Wednesday, the Atlanta Police Department told Fox News in a statement, “APD is monitoring the situation and plans to coordinate with community leaders and the Wendy’s property owner to address security issues and help preserve peace for this community as soon as possible.”
Asked what would happen if the police arrived on the scene, the men speaking with the Fox News reporter insisted they would not leave and that officers would not be allowed to stay.
“We will tell them, then calmly discuss and conversate with the officer and tell him that we are not moving. We are peaceful. We are not shooting bullets,” one of the men said.
“It’s my legal right to bear arms,” the man with the shotgun asserted, referring to the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution when asked how he would respond if police ordered him to put his weapon down. “And at no point will I allow my right to be disturbed.”
He also insisted there was no “stand-off” as reports had indicated and that things would not spiral out of control.
“Absolutely not. “Everybody in here has the same agenda and same plan. We are not here to harm anybody, we are here to protect ourselves,” he said.
Earlier reports indicated that people living in the area where protesters had allegedly taken over had complained about the lack of police intervention and that the protesters were not remaining peaceful.
“My husband literally just missed getting caught in the crossfire when he was on his way home,” Kimberlee Jones told WXIA. “People have been shot and have been hurt.”
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