In the midst of a heated national discourse on race relations and police brutality, a black man by the name of Rayshard Brooks was killed during an altercation with Atlanta police outside of a Wendy’s restaurant.
During the incident, Brooks wrestled with police officers before taking control of a taser. As he ran from police, Brooks turned to fire the taser in the direction of the pursuing officers and was shot dead. The officer in the case is now facing eleven charges, including a possible felony murder rap that has prompted his fellow officers to call out from work in protest.
Just days after the incident, a protest at the Wendy’s where Brooks was killed turned explosive when the restaurant was vandalized and then set ablaze. Video of the arson depicted a young white woman starting the fire, and police now believe they have confirmed the identity of this agitator.
Investigators on Saturday identified Natalie White, 29, as a suspect in connection to the fire. The Atlanta Fire Department has obtained an arrest warrant for White for first-degree arson, a felony in Georgia.
White’s face was captured on video surveillance and shared during a news conference on Tuesday. Bodycam footage released in the case indicates that Brooks identified White as his girlfriend.
Twitter users had earlier jumped to conclusions about the fire, noting that the arsonist was a white woman, and believing that she may have been some sort of agent provocateur sent to cast other protesters in a poor light.
After the police released photos of their suspect, the confusion cleared up.
During the incident, Brooks suggested to officers that he could go to his girlfriend’s house nearby. In the footage, Brooks names White.
“You know, Natalie White, she’s my girlfriend. She left. I said, ‘Baby, I’ll get Wendy’s and then I’ll go back …'” he can be heard saying.
Police and the state arson board are offering $10,000 each for information leading to White’s apprehension.
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