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Rayshard Brooks | Damaged overnight, black-owned businesses also grapple with Friday's shooting

Wendy's wasn't the only place damaged on Saturday night. And black-owned businesses owners found themselves caught in the middle.

ATLANTA — The protests in South Atlanta have been largely peaceful. But this time on Saturday night was very different.

That’s when the Wendy’s restaurant where Rayshard Brooks was shot by police went up in flames, gutting the entire building. That, however, isn’t the only damage in the area.

11Alive spoke to black-owned businesses that also suffered some damage.  Up until late Sunday evening, workers were still boarding up the windows at All American Package Store.

It’s directly across the street from that Wendy's where the deadly shooting happened. It's an Indian and black-owned business. The owners took over about two years ago. But it's now all boarded up.

Video shows one of the gaping holes left by some of the protesters.  And several of the windows were broken out. The owner said there was no looting, and nothing was stolen.

But just boarding up the damage has already cost thousands of dollars. 11Alive spoke with one of the workers who was there -- both the night of the shooting and Saturday night -- filming the protests. He came to work Sunday morning to find his workplace damaged.

 “I'm from this neighborhood,” Gregory Simpson Jr. said. “The person that died could have been me. I was cleaning the parking lot.”

“I feel your pain, that could have been my uncle, it could have been my father, it could have been my brother. I was across the street. It could have been me,” he added. “This is my job, this is where I get my income at. I have mixed feelings about it.”

Simpson added that the damage affects his income and his abilities to pay bills.

“I have to work here, too, but at the same time I saw what happened,” he said. “And I can't blame people for being frustrated because they tried to handle things in a way that they thought was right for so long.”

So that's the feeling some in this community are grappling with. They understand the frustration but also feel sad when businesses like these become part of the damage.


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