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3 indicted for fire at Wendy's where police killed Rayshard Brooks

The three face two counts of arson in the first-degree and one count of conspiracy to commit arson in the first-degree.

ATLANTA — Three people have been indicted for setting fire to a Wendy's where the shooting death of Rayshard Brooks by police took place.

According to an indictment released Thursday from Fulton County, John Wade, Natalie White and Chisom Kingston face two counts of arson in the first-degree and one count of conspiracy to commit arson in the first-degree. 

White was given a $10,000 bond during her first court appearance back in June of 2020. She posted bond and left jail to go home to a house arrest order, where she had to wear an ankle monitor and wasn't allowed to use social media. White's attorney Drew Findling insisted she was part of the protest but did not set the fire. 

"Video shows you not only Natalie, but the scores of other people that were involved," Findling said. 

Soon after White's arrest, Wade and Kingston were also arrested in connection with the fire.

In July of 2020, Kingston was also granted a $10,000 bond, released and had to wear an ankle monitor. Meanwhile, Wade was granted a $10,000 bond in a court hearing, which he waived. He was also required to wear an ankle monitor, have no contact with other co-defendants and he had to stay away from Wendy's –  what was left of it. 

Wade, White and Kingston are accused of endangering lives by burning down the Wendy's where police shot and killed 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks.

From the first, small flames, to the end of the fire, witnesses were unknowingly already helping arson investigators by posting, on social media, videos of potential suspects. According to the Grand Jury indictment, all three are accused of working together and conspiring with each other. At least one of them is accused of igniting several fires to burn down the building. 

Previously, investigators have said they expected to make more arrests. So far, after 19 months, only three suspects have been arrested and are now indicted.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis released the following statement Thursday night following the indictment:

“Today’s indictment sends an important message. We recognize and will protect the right of people to protest. We cannot, however, tolerate violence like arson, even if done in the name of protest. We will hold accountable those who endanger lives by committing acts like those alleged in the indictment.”

Credit: Fulton County
Left to right: Natalie White, John Wesley Wade, Chisom Kingston

Brooks' death sparked some of the most searing protests around Atlanta. 

Crowds gathered at the Wendy's on University Avenue in Atlanta on June 12, 2020, after Brooks was shot by now-ex Atlanta police officer Garrett Rolfe as he ran from him after grabbing his Taser and discharging it back toward the officer. Brooks was then allegedly kicked and stepped on as he lay dying in Wendy's parking lot. 

Credit: Family photos
Rayshard Brooks family photos

After the fire at Wendy's, the gutted property became both a location for intense protests and peace. In the days following the fire, armed people moved into the area and set up blockades making it difficult to get in and out of the neighborhood. Those barricades were later dismantled by police, and since, the location has become a spot for unity in the community.

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