Many longtime Atlanta/Fulton County court watchers, and especially Georgia’s law enforcement community, are shocked that two of the three suspects accused of burning down a Wendy’s in southwest Atlanta during a 2020 Black Lives Matter riot have accepted plea deals negotiated by District Attorney Fani Willis and accepted by liberal county Superior Court Judge Eric Dunaway.
Chisom Kingston and Natalie White were charged with conspiracy to commit arson in the first degree and two counts of first-degree arson. And the two pleaded guilty to their crimes in a plea deal.
The two radicals, however, were sentenced the other day by Dunaway to simply five years of probation, ordered to pay a mere $500 fine and completion of 150 hours of community service. In addition to Kingston and White, fellow left-wing radical John Wesley Wade was indicted on the same charges earlier this year. All three initially pleaded not guilty and waived their arraignments in March 2022, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The charges stem from a violent BLM riot over the death of gang member Rayshard Brooks, who was killed in a police-involved shooting in June 2020. Brooks had punched Atlanta police officer David Brosnan, and stole his taser while under investigation for a DUI in the parking lot of Wendy’s. Brooks aimed the taser at Brosnan and pursuing officer Garrett Rolfe shot and killed Brooks after fighting and refusing to follow officers’ orders. (Brooks punched Brosnan hard enough to cause a concussion.)
As a result, rioters torched the Wendy’s in protest of Brooks’ death. And a no-police zone was even established by armed thugs at the Wendy’s site and violence followed throughout the city over the next few months.
During the time of that autonomous zone tolerated by then-Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, an 8-year-old girl was killed on July 4, 2020 in the Wendy’s parking lot. The girl was murdered by thugs at a roadblock as she rode in a car with her mother. They had fired multiple gunshots at the vehicle, ultimately resulting in the young girl’s death.
Wade, the third suspect that did not take a plea deal, is a prominent Black Lives Matter activist in Atlanta and led several violent protests in the summer of 2020. In October 2020, Wade was arrested on federal charges over a string of violent demonstrations and was sentenced to five years in federal prison in March 2022.
Wade was also among a group of rioters that torched Atlanta police vehicles and set fires to United States Postal Service property as the 2020 election approached. The group left notes that read “Stand By” in an effort to frame the right-wing Proud Boys group for the crimes.
Wade was caught by police after he was ordered to wear a GPS ankle-monitoring device at the time of the attacks when he was released on bond for burning down the Wendy’s building.