By BILL HUTCHINSON, ABC News
(ATLANTA) — Armed with rocks, spray paint and fireworks, protesters allegedly descended on the Georgia Bureau of Public Safety headquarters in Atlanta early Sunday, vandalizing the building and sparking a fire that injured two employees of the law enforcement agency, authorities said.
About 60 to 100 demonstrators, dressed in dark clothes and many wearing masks, caused “extensive damage” to the facility, including breaking several windows and spray painting graffiti on the building, according to Lt. Stephanie Stallings, spokesperson for the state Department of Public Safety.
“Fireworks were thrown through one of the windows, causing a small fire in one of the offices,” Stallings said in a statement.
Stallings said employees on-site at the time of the attack put the fire out quickly, but two DPS workers were treated for smoke inhalation.
A DPS vehicle parked in front of the building was also vandalized, Stallings said.
The building houses several other state agencies.
Stallings said an estimated cost of the damage to the building is still being assessed.
It was unclear if any arrests were made.
The Georgia DPS oversees the day-to-day operations of the Georgia State Patrol.
The vandalism came amid weeks of protests in Atlanta and across the nation that started with the May 25 police-involved death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and was followed by the fatal June 12 police shooting in Atlanta of another African American, Rayshard Brooks, after he was found asleep in his car in a Wendy’s restaurant drive-thru lane.
Garrett Rolfe, the police officer who shot Brooks, was fired from the police department and charged with felony murder. Another officer involved in the incident, Devin Brosnan, was placed on administrative leave and charged with aggravated assault.
Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields resigned in the immediate aftermath of Brooks’ death.
Brooks’ shooting came just days after six Atlanta police officers were criminally charged after they were caught on video forcibly pulling two college students out of a car, smashing its windows and using a stun gun while arresting them as protests over the death of Floyd continued nearby.
Arrest warrants were issued for Lonnie Hood, Roland Claud, Mark Gardner, Armond Jones, Willie Sauls and Ivory Streeter for the caught-on-camera incident. Two of the officers, Gardner and Streeter, were fired and the others were placed on administrative leave.
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