Officers tried to pull over Sisay, the son of a retired Gambian diplomat, for a vehicle tag violation, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), which has launched a probe into his death.
The agency said in a statement that Sisay attempted to flee, aimed a gun at officers and then died after exchanging fire with a SWAT team that had arrived to provide backup.
GBI authorities refused a request to view body camera footage of the incident, citing the ongoing investigation. No officers were injured.
On Tuesday, Gambia ordered its embassy in Washington to contact the State Department and urge a “transparent, credible and objective investigation in the matter,” Gambian officials said in a statement.
The embassy sent a team of investigators to work with the GBI, said Saikou Ceesay, the country’s foreign affairs spokesman.
“The outcome of the investigation will determine our position of the case,” Ceesay said. “Equal treatment must be given to all citizens. Rights and dignity must be respected.”
The State Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The news shocked people in the West African country, who plan to protest in front of the U.S. Embassy in the Gambian capital, Banjul, on Monday.
“The whole case is just unbelievable,” said Banka Manneh, a Gambian human rights activist in Atlanta. “How can an expired tag situation escalate into a killing?”
Gambians are demanding to see video of the shooting, Manneh said — they no longer trust the word of U.S. police.
“America,” he said, “needs to admit there is an inherent racism problem in this country.”
Gambia, which has a population of about 2.4 million, has taken up expensive, time-consuming inquiries in the recent past.
The country filed a lawsuit at the United Nations’ top court last year accusing Myanmar of genocide against Rohingya Muslims, renewing international attention on the issue, and is investigating the human rights abuses of its former dictator Yahya Jammeh — a process that has partly unfolded on live stream.
Sisay lived in Lithonia, a small city about 18 miles east of Atlanta. His father, Lare Sisay, worked for the U.N. Development Program.
“He was a very pious and disciplined young man whose life was cut short brutally!” Lare Sisay posted to a public Facebook page Saturday alongside a photo of his son.
Gambia’s push for more information on the case comes as protests have erupted in all 50 states following the death of Floyd, a black man who was killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis.
Floyd, who was suspected of trying to spend a counterfeit $20 at a deli, died in police custody after officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes. (Chauvin faces charges of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.)
Footage of the killing quickly went viral, and demonstrators flooded streets across the globe.
The U.N. human rights chief called for “serious action” to stop U.S. police killings of unarmed black Americans. The head of the African Union Commission released a statement rejecting the “continuing discriminatory practices against Black citizens of the United States of America.”
The president of Ghana said he was “shocked and distraught” by Floyd’s death.
In Gambia, the U.S. Embassy also condemned the killing on Facebook.
“So you won’t even talk about the Gambian that was shot dead by your police few days ago?” one commenter wrote below the post.
“Words mean nothing,” another added. “Your actions are what we want to see not just empty statements.”