The Atlanta PD officer who shot Rayshard Brooks in the back and killed him during a confrontation at a downtown Wendy's, will be charged with murder and held without bond, ABC News reports.
Rayshard Brooks: Police officer who shot black man in back to face charges over death https://t.co/3Bk3QFwitS— SkyNews (@SkyNews) June 17, 2020
The news that Fulton County DA is planning to charge Garrett Rolfe, the officer who shot Brooks (Rolfe has already been fired), was broken by ABC News. He will face a murder charge, along with 10 other charges.
Arrest warrants will be issued in connection with the death of Rayshard Brooks, a black man shot dead by an Atlanta police officer in a Wendy's parking lot last week, prosecutors said Wednesday.
Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard Jr. has not yet announced the charges, or who has been charged, at an ongoing news conference.
Garrett Rolfe, the officer who shot Brooks, has since been fired.
The second officer at the scene, Devin Brosnan, was placed on administrative leave.
Additionally, the second officer who responded to the call that led to the fatal shooting, and whose city-issued taser was stolen by Brooks before he was shot in the back by Rolfe, will face three charges, and is reportedly cooperating with the DA. That officer, Devin Brosnan, was placed on administrative leave, but hasn't been terminated - pending an investigation.
Brosnan will face a charge of aggravated assault, which is interesting since the alleged "assault" occurred while Brooks was actively resisting arrest.
Rolfe's attorneys are claiming that after the taser was stolen, Rolfe heard what sounded like a gunshot, then fired at Brooks as he feared for his life and feared Brooks might be firing at him, or his partner. Video footage shows Brooks firing the taser, and missing badly, before sprinting away, shortly before the shots were fired. The officers' defense is being funded by the union.
On the other side, Justin Miller, an attorney for Brooks' family, is arguing that the cops shouldn't have brought weapons to that type of call, when someone is reporting an unconscious person sleeping in a car. (note: police bring guns to practically every stop, including routine traffic stops...at least in the US).
"Are they saying that he deserved to be shot because he fought back? Or he deserved to be shot because he was running away?" Miller told ABC News. "We don't think it's justified at all. Once someone is running away, he's not a threat to the officers ... there's no justification for shooting somebody in the back."
Of course, nobody can predict how a sleeping person will react. Brooks, who would have faced another prison stint if he was charged with another DUI violation, probably felt trying to escape was the best move, since the alternative was jail.
Responding to the charges, Burke County Sheriff Alfonzo Williams argued, Rolfe's actions were "completely justified."
"We saw in the video that Brooks is engaged in a fight with the officers," said Williams, whose county is about 160 miles east of Atlanta.
"Brooks is able to take a non-lethal weapon, a Taser, away from one of the officers, and he flees," Williams said Tuesday. "Brooks turned back to the officers and fired the Taser.
The DA described Brooks' behavior during the "incident" as "calm", "cooperative", "almost jovial" for the first 41 minutes and 17 seconds of the stop. The DA also said the officers didn't properly inform Brooks that he was being arrested before officer Rolfe "inappropriately grabbed him from the rear".
At the very beginning of this, Brooks was "peacefully sleeping in his car" and was "directed to move his car to another location".
However, despite the DA's explanation, the decision to deny Rolfe bond seems punitive, despite the gravity of the charge. Placing a former police officer in genpop presents an obvious threat to their safety, so Rolfe will need to be held in "protective" custody - ie solitary confinement.
Every Atlanta Police officer should walk off the job. Let BLM patrol the streets.— toddstarnes (@toddstarnes) June 17, 2020
All of this ends with good cops leaving the job. Who does that leave left?— Jack Posobiec (@JackPosobiec) June 17, 2020
Williams told CNN that Brooks' use of the device was extremely dangerous because it could have immobilized the officer for several seconds, possibly allowing Brooks to steal the officer's gun or seriously injure him.
The family lawyer also wants Brooks to be fired and to face more stringent charges.
The shooting late Friday night set off another wave of protests in Atlanta and led to the resignation of now-former Police Chief Erika Shields.
A press conference by the DA unveiling the charges is happening now. Watch below: