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Last July 4, eight-year-old Secoriea Turner was shot and killed as she rode in the back seat of a car with her mother, Charmaine Turner, and Omar Ivery. Their vehicle was shot at because they had made a wrong turn and found themselves near a then burned down Wendy’s restaurant, the sight of the police shooting death of Rayshard Brooks a few weeks earlier. In the intervening weeks, the Wendy’s had become the focal point of protests over Brooks’ death and the site of several violent acts, including the burning down of the restaurant. Armed individuals had set up a roadblock and had effective control of the area. This is the location young Secoriea and her family found themselves on that fateful July evening.
Other factors leading up to Turner’s murder include the firing of Officer Garrett Rolfe, the officer involved in the 6/12/20 shooting death of Rayshard Brooks, and murder charges being filed against Rolfe by Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard. Howard was in a tight reelection campaign (which he later lost), and many thought the quick filing of charges against Rolfe was more political than a decision based on the evidence. Rolfe has later been reinstated to the force, but his murder trial is still pending.
Additionally, Atlanta Chief of Police Erika Shields resigned on June 13, 2020, with groups like the NAACP calling for her resignation in the wake of the Brooks shooting death. Shields was popular among Atlanta’s police officers. Earlier in June, six Atlanta Police Department officers were charged by District Attorney Howard with excessive force after tazing two college students who had violated Atlanta’s curfew. The curfew was put in place by Mayor Bottoms after several days of protests, looting, and destruction of property.