Ex-Atlanta Cop Charged With Murder in Rayshard Brooks Shooting

On Monday, children look at a burned Wendy’s location in Atlanta, outside which Rayshard Brooks, a 27-year-old black man, was fatally shot by a white Atlanta police officer Friday night. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

ATLANTA (CN) — The former Atlanta police officer who shot and killed Rayshard Brooks in a Wendy’s parking lot Friday night will face 11 charges, including felony murder and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Garrett Rolfe has also been charged with multiple violations of his oath of office, including improper use of excessive force and failure to render timely medical aid.

The other police officer on the scene, Devin Brosnan, has agreed to testify against Rolfe and faces three charges, including aggravated assault.

Rolfe, a white man, shot Brooks, a 27-year-old black father of four, in the back twice during an attempted arrest Friday evening. Video footage of the shooting was captured by multiple witnesses, Wendy’s surveillance cameras, and police body cameras.

After the shooting, Rolfe reportedly said “I got him” and kicked Brooks as he laid on the ground. Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said Wednesday that Brosnan admitted to standing on Brooks’ shoulder.

In violation of Atlanta police policy, neither officer attempted to provide Brooks with medical aid, Howard said.

“The demeanor of the officers immediately after the shooting did not reflect any fear or danger of Mr. Brooks,” he said. “But their actions really reflected other kinds of emotions.”

Howard said his office reviewed multiple videos, physical evidence and numerous witness statements before concluding that Brooks posed no threat of death or serious injury to the officers.

Brooks was cooperative, even “jovial,” with officers for over 40 minutes before Rolfe attempted to place him under arrest, according to the prosecutor.

Police were called to the fast-food restaurant due to complaints that Brooks was asleep in a car that was blocking the drive-thru line. A breath test revealed that Brooks was intoxicated.

Howard said neither officer told Brooks he was under arrest for DUI before Rolfe “grabbed him from the rear.”

Brooks struggled with the officers, grabbed one of their Taser guns and allegedly fired it at them as he ran away.

“Mr. Brooks never presented himself as a threat,” Howard said. “[He] was running away at the time the shot was fired.”

Brooks’ death reignited protests in Atlanta that have been ongoing since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, which sparked anti-racism demonstrations across the world. The Atlanta Wendy’s where the shooting occurred was burned down and has since become a makeshift memorial site.

The fallout from the incident was swift. By Saturday, Rolfe was fired and Brosnan was placed on administrative leave.

Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields submitted her resignation to Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms on Saturday, saying in a statement, “It is time for the city to move forward and build trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.”

Arrest warrants have been issued for both men and they have been asked to surrender by Thursday.

The felony murder charge against Rolfe carries a possible sentence of life imprisonment without parole or the death penalty. Brosnan could face between one and 20 years in prison for the aggravated assault charge.

On Wednesday, Chris Stewart, an attorney representing Brooks’ wife Tomika Miller, applauded Brosnan’s decision to testify against Rolfe.

“Even in dark times like this, you have to try and see the light. The positivity of this situation is the courageousness of Officer Brosnan to step forward and say what happened was wrong. It is officers like that who change policing,” Stewart said. “I know he’ll probably catch all kind of problems and hate. That’s why you become a police officer: Do what’s right.”

Attorneys representing Rolfe released a statement prior to Wednesday’s press conference defending their client.

“The loss of life in any instance is tragic. However, Officer Rolfe’s actions were justified,” the statement from LoRusso Law Firm said.

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