Board Reverses Firing of Atlanta Cop Charged With Killing Black Man

The Atlanta Civil Service Board found Garrett Rolfe was not afforded his right to due process when he was fired over the shooting of Rayshard Brooks in a Wendy’s parking lot.

Children take in a burned Wendy’s location in Atlanta on June 15, 2020, three days after Rayshard Brooks, a 27-year-old Black man, was fatally shot in the parking lot by a white police officer. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

ATLANTA (CN) — Atlanta police officer Garrett Rolfe, who was fired and charged with murder after fatally shooting Rayshard Brooks last summer, has been reinstated by the city’s Civil Service Board.

“Due to the city’s failure to comply with several provisions of the Code and the information received during witnesses’ testimony, the board concludes the appellant was not afforded his right to due process,” the board’s Wednesday order states. “Therefore, the board grants the appeal of Garrett Rolfe and revokes his dismissal as an employee of the APD.”

The board held an April 22 hearing following Rolfe’s appeal of the city’s decision to fire him. He claimed that the city wrongfully terminated him one day after he shot Brooks, a Black father of four, in a Wendy’s parking lot during an attempted DUI arrest. Rolfe asked for his job back with back pay and benefits.

This image from body camera video shows Rayshard Brooks speaking with Officer Garrett Rolfe in the parking lot of a Wendy’s restaurant in Atlanta on June 12, 2020. (Atlanta Police Department via AP)

The ruling states that the city failed to give Rolfe the required notice under the code before firing him.

“We are very pleased at this action and consider it the first step in the total vindication of Officer Garrett Rolfe,” attorney Lance J. LoRusso, who represents Rolfe, said in a statement Wednesday. 

Rolfe, who was granted bond last year, is currently facing 11 charges, including felony murder and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

A spokesperson for the Atlanta Police Department confirmed Wednesday that Rolfe will remain on administrative leave pending the outcome of the criminal proceedings.

“The Civil Service Board (CSB) has reversed the termination of officer Garrett Rolfe only on the basis that they were not done in accordance with the Atlanta City Code. It is important to note that the CSB did not make a determination as to whether officer Rolfe violated Atlanta Police Department policies,” Atlanta police spokesman Anthony Grant said in a statement Wednesday.

Grant said the police department will conduct an assessment to determine if “additional investigative actions” are needed.

Rolfe’s attorneys have claimed that he was justified in shooting Brooks twice in the back during a scuffle in which Brooks wrestled with police and grabbed a Taser belonging to Officer Devin Brosnan, who was also on the scene.

Video footage of the June 12 shooting showed Brooks running away from the officers while pointing the Taser behind him.

At a press conference last year, former Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said Rolfe kicked Brooks as he laid on the ground and said, “I got him.” Howard alleged that neither Rolfe or Brosnan attempted to provide Brooks with medical aid.

Brosnan, who reportedly admitted to standing on Brooks’ shoulder, faces charges including violation of his oath of office and aggravated assault.

Brooks’ death set off a chain of events which culminated with former Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields’ resignation and the burning of the Wendy’s where the shooting occurred by protesters.

The future of the case against Rolfe is currently up in the air.

In February, Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr refused Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’s request to recuse her office and transfer the case out of her jurisdiction.

Willis claimed that her predecessor’s use of video evidence from the Brooks case in his campaign commercials made it impossible for her to prosecute the case in Fulton County.

A judge has not yet determined what will happen next.

%d bloggers like this: