ATLANTA — Attorneys for three people accused of setting fire to a Wendy's in 2020 will face a judge Friday in a motion hearing. The fast food restaurant was the backdrop of where Rayshard Brooks was shot and killed by police.
John Wade, Natalie White and Chisom Kingston were indicted on two counts of arson and one count of conspiracy to commit arson, both in the first degree, Fulton County court documents show, accused of igniting flames at the Wendy's on University Avenue in Atlanta.
White was given a $10,000 bond during her first court appearance in June 2020. She posted bond and left jail under a house arrest order, where she had to wear an ankle monitor and wasn't allowed to use social media. White's attorney insisted she was part of the protest following Brooks' death but did not set the fire.
Court records show her legal team filed a severance, asking a judge to separate her case from Wade and Kingston's. The two were arrested shortly after White.
The three are accused of endangering lives by burning down the Wendy's where 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks was killed. Prosecutors say the three worked and conspired together to commit arson.
Protests persisted at the fast food restaurant after June 12, 2020, when Brooks was shot by Atlanta Police Department officer Garrett Rolfe. Police said the gunfire went off after Brooks ran from Rolfe after grabbing the officer's Taser and discharging it. Rolfe is accused of kicking and stepping on Brooks as he lay dying in the parking lot.
Rolfe, along with then-officer Devin Brosnan, who helped detain Brooks, are both now facing trial. The two also recently filed a federal lawsuit accusing the city of violating the officers' constitutional rights following the shooting.
Both maintain that they “used the least amount of force possible in their attempts to arrest Brooks,” given Brooks’ violent resistance -- and all according to city policies -- and that the officers were in fear for their lives, acting in self-defense.
The officers remain employed by the police department but are not on active duty. Rolfe was initially fired after the shooting but reinstated by a city board in May 2021, finding his firing did not comply with city policies.