Protesters rally at Atlanta jail, demand release of woman accused in Wendy’s arson

Protesters on Tuesday night gathered outside the Fulton County Jail in Atlanta demanding the release of the woman accused of setting fire to the Wendy's restaurant where Rayshard Brooks was killed by a police officer.

The group, which had swelled in size to about 100 by 11 p.m., banged on pots and pans, blared their car horns, held signs reading Black Lives Matter and used projectors to light up the words "Dismantle white supremacy" and "Shut it down."

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On Monday, the Fulton County Sheriff's Office announced they were looking for Natalie White in connection to the Wendy's fire. By Tuesday evening, she had turned herself in and is facing charges of first-degree arson.

Early Wednesday afternoon, a judge agreed to release White on a $10,000 bond under the condition she be on house arrest, wear an ankle monitor and stay off social media.

White's lawyer, Drew Findling, claims his client did not start the June 13 fire. There have been rumors that White was Brooks' girlfriend, something Brooks' family denies. While Findling would not confirm those claims, he did say White and Brooks knew each other.

The protesters parked outside the jail told local reporters they would remain until White was released.

Brooks was shot in the back twice on June 12 by police officer Garrett Rolfe. Rolfe has been fired and is facing 11 charges of his own, including felony murder. The other officer at the scene, Devin Brosnan, is facing three charges, including aggravated assault.

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Atlanta Mayor Keisha Bottoms and Fulton County District Attorney Paul L. Howard Jr. called Brooks' killing an unjustified use of deadly force -- a claim the police union has pushed back strongly on.

"We've concluded that at the time Mr. Brooks was shot, he did not pose an imminent threat of serious injury to the officers," Howard said.

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In the aftermath of Brooks' death, the Atlanta police chief resigned, and White, according to authorities, burned down the Wendy's.

Brooks' death came amid weeks of turbulent and at times violent protests across the country over police brutality and systemic racism following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man in Minneapolis who died while in police custody.