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Following demolition, what's next at site of infamous Wendy's where Rayshard Brooks was killed

The southeast Atlanta Wendy's restaurant was destroyed in arson fire during protests.

ATLANTA — Demolition crews bulldozed the Wendy’s restaurant Tuesday morning that burned down in mid-June following the killing of Rayshard Brooks.  

Brooks died following a confrontation with Atlanta police officers outside the restaurant. Two officers are now charged in the case.  

Some community leaders are hoping that removal of the charred site can provide a positive and overdue milestone.

Heavy equipment showed up shortly after daybreak – and without warning, according to community leaders who say they’d hoped for a heads-up from the city.

"I understand the reason for the demolition. I think the way it was done further traumatizes an already traumatized community," said Tanya Washington Hicks, an attorney and community leader in the Peoplestown community.

The Wendy’s had been a scorched flashpoint for weeks of protests and violence.

The day after Brooks' death last month, hundreds showed up to protest, which extended for days – and arsonists burned down the Wendy's. 

Days after, a few steps from the fire scene, an 8-year-old girl, Secoriea Turner, was shot and killed in her car. The next day, a man helping a disabled motorist, Christopher Brooks, was shot and killed and two others were injured.

The demolition of the Wendy’s can be a positive step, says Columbus Ward, chair of the city's Neighborhood Planning Unit that covers the area around the Wendy's site.  

"I think it’s a move in the right direction to revitalize the neighborhood in way the neighborhood would like it to be," Ward said.

He says a neighborhood plan includes new businesses and industry along University Avenue – a thoroughfare that parallels a newly opened stretch of the Atlanta Beltline. But he says the plan should also include a space for a community center and memorial for Rayshard Brooks. 

"This should be a peace center, particularly for black men and black women who’ve been killed by law enforcement," Ward said. "I think that story could be told there on that (Wendy's) site."  

The next step was unclear, as workers fenced off the Wendy's site Tuesday afternoon.  

"We’re a scrappy, strong community," Hicks said.  "We'll move past this and the way we’ll move past this is together."

The property is privately owned and 11Alive has attempted to contact the owners multiple times. 


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