Family of Rayshard Brooks call for justice, change in policing in Atlanta

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June 15 (UPI) -- The family of Rayshard Brooks, a 27-year-old black man killed by police in Atlanta over the weekend, called for justice and change following his death during a press conference on Monday.

Brooks' widow Tomika Miller was joined by their children Blessing, 8; Memory, 2; Dream, 1 and his stepson Mekai, 13, as well as other family members as she thanked the community for offering support.

"Even though I can't bring my husband back I know he's smiling because his name will forever be remembered, " said Miller. "I can never get my husband back. I can never tell my daughter, he's coming to take you skating or to swimming lessons. It's going to be a long time before I heal."

Tiara Brooks, Brooks's cousin, issued a call for action in the form of significant change to policing in the city.

"We must all agree to one fact: He was killed by the Atlanta Police Department," she said. "The trust that we have with the police force is broken. The only way to heal some of these wounds is through a conviction and a drastic change with the police department."

Media mogul Tyler Perry also announced that he will cover funeral expenses for Brooks' family.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said that the killing of Brooks has already led to expedited changes in the department, brought on by widespread protests sparked by the police-involved killing of George Floyd in Minnesota, including increased de-escalation training and requiring officers to intervene if they see another officer using force inappropriately.

Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields also resigned, following mass protests during which thousands poured into the streets, shutting down all lanes of the southbound downtown connector at University Avenue and setting fire to the Wendy's restaurant where Brooks was killed.

An autopsy released Sunday showed that Brooks died of two gunshot wounds that resulted in organ damage and blood loss after a confrontation with police. Video showed that Brooks took a Taser from an officer and ran while firing it back at them as officers returned with gunfire.

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