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Justin Timberlake: ‘Black People In America Are Not Safe’
Justin Timberlake during the filming for the Graham Norton Show at BBC Studioworks 6 Television Centre, Wood Lane, London, to be aired on BBC One on Friday evening.
Isabel Infantes/PA Images via Getty Images

Musician and actor Justin Timberlake reacted to the killing of Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta, Georgia, on Saturday by saying “black people in America are not safe.”

In a lengthy Instagram post, Timberlake shared a photo of 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks holding his newborn baby and expressed concern for the lives of black men.

“As a dad, this photo hurts. [Rayshard Brooks] was a father of three girls…1, 2, and 8 years old. He should not be dead,” Timberlake said as went on to list the names of multiple African Americans who were recently killed. “Neither should [Riah Milton], [Dominique Fells], and [Robert Fuller]. This week, these four innocent people became victims of racism, violence, and intolerance. And we’re still waiting for Justice for [Breonna Taylor]. I’m heartbroken for their families and for this country.”

Justin Timberlake called for the system to be changed while challenging people to say “Black Lives Matter.”

“The system needs to change… it has repeatedly shown us that Black people in America are not safe. I’ll follow up with more resources and ways to help. Continue to SAY THEIR NAMES. [Black Lives Matter],” concluded Timberlake.

Rayshard Brooks was killed in Atlanta, Georgia, last Friday night after an altercation with police in a Wendy’s parking lot, where police were called on reports that Brooks was “passed out” behind the wheel of his vehicle in the drive-through line.

Body camera footage released by the police department Sunday shows that the situation remained mostly calm until Brooks tested as over the limit on the breathalyzer. When the officers attempted to handcuff Brooks for drinking while under the limit, Brooks attempted to flee, grappling with police, who repeatedly warned him to “stop fighting” and that he would “get Tased.” In the struggle, Brooks managed to get hold of one of the officers’ Taser. One of the officers then uses his Taser on Brooks, who is running away then turns and appears to attempt to shoot the officer with the Taser he is holding. It was at this point that an officer fired on Brooks.

“These new videos indicate that during a physical struggle with officers, Brooks obtained one of the officer’s Tasers and began to flee from the scene,” the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said. “Officers pursued Brooks on foot and during the chase, Brooks turned and pointed the Taser at the officer. The officer fired his weapon, striking Brooks.”

Officer Garrett Rolfe, who fired the fatal shots, has been terminated from duty while Officer Devin Brosnan has been placed on administrative duty. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms believed that lethal force was not justified in this situation.

“I do not believe that this was a justified use of deadly force,” Bottoms said during a press conference on Saturday afternoon.

But Steven Gainor, a police union president, maintains that the use of lethal force was justified. “If I’m an untrained individual and I aim [a Taser] at your head, that could be deadly,” he said. “You could lose an eye.”

Singer Justin Timberlake has supported the Black Lives Matter movement since the tragic death of George Floyd. Shortly after the officers involved in his death were arrested, Timberlake asked his followers to donate to various causes, including the NAACP.

“Yesterday I was happy to hear the other three officers were charged in the death of [George Floyd] but today we continue to mourn with the family. I send my sincere condolences and prayers to them,” he wrote. “We also know no one has yet to be charged in the death of [Breonna Taylor] so there is more work to do to bring her justice. There are crucial organizations on the ground who are doing the work to get her justice and do the work to end systematic racism. Please follow, donate and support their hard work.”

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