Ex-Atlanta police officer who shot Rayshard Brooks charged with murder




  • In US
  • 2020-06-17 20:55:17Z
  • By NBC News
Ex-Atlanta police officer who shot Rayshard Brooks charged with murder
Ex-Atlanta police officer who shot Rayshard Brooks charged with murder  

The former Atlanta police officer who fatally shot Rayshard Brooks in the parking lot of a Wendy's restaurant was charged with felony murder, the district attorney's office announced.

Garrett Rolfe, who was fired by the Atlanta Police Department following the June 12 shooting, faces 11 total charges, Fulton County district attorney Paul L. Howard, Jr. said at a news conference Wednesday.

A second officer, Devin Brosnan, was placed on administrative leave. Brosnan, who is a cooperating witness for the state, faces three charges including aggravated assault and violation of oath.

Howard said after the shooting, Rofle said "I got him." Brosnan stood on Brooks' body as he was lying on the ground and Rolfe kicked him, according to the district attorney.

He is asking both men to surrender by 6 p.m. Thursday.

Brooks, a Black man, was shot in the parking lot of the Wendy's after Rolfe and Brosnan responded to a 911 call about a man who appeared intoxicated sleeping in his car in the drive-thru.

The 27-year-old father was shot twice in the back as he ran and died at a hospital following surgery. His death has been ruled a homicide.

In the 911 call, a Wendy's employee told the dispatcher that the customer was parked in the middle of the drive-thru, forcing cars to go around his vehicle. When the dispatcher asked if the customer had any visible weapons, the employee said, "No, no. I think he's intoxicated."

Brooks was questioned by Rolfe and Brosnan for more than 25 minutes, body and dash-camera video shows. He told the officers that he visited his mother's gravesite earlier in the day, went out drinking with a friend and was dropped off at Wendy's because he was hungry.

During the questioning, Brooks struggled to remember how many drinks he had and at one point asked the officers if he could walk home.

"I just don't want to be in violation of anybody," Brooks said, adding, "Let me go, I'm ready to go."

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation, which launched a probe into the shooting, said Brooks failed a field sobriety test and struggled with the officers as they tried to arrest him.

GBI Director Vic Reynolds said at a news conference Saturday that Brooks was able to get one of the officer's stun guns and video showed him appearing to run away with the stun gun in his hand.

After running a short distance, Brooks appeared to turn around and point the stun gun at the officer, according to the director. At that point, Rolfe fatally shot Brooks.

Howard said Wednesday that Brooks "never presented himself as a threat" to the officers and appeared "almost jovial." The district attorney said Brooks followed every instruction by the officers and was never informed that he was under arrest for driving under the influence.

After he was shot, there was a period of more than two minutes when medical aid was not provided.

"When we examined the videotape and in our discussions with witnesses, what we discovered is during the 2 minutes and 12 seconds, Officer Rolfe actually kicked Mr. Brooks while he laid on the ground, while he was there fighting for his life," Howard said. " Secondly, from the videotape we were able to see that the other officer, Officer Brosnan, actually stood on Mr. Brooks' shoulders while he was there struggling for his life. "

In addition to felony murder, Rolfe faces charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, criminal damage to property and violation of oath. His attorney said in a statement that the shooting was justified and Rolfe feared for his life as well as the lives of the people in the parking lot when he fired his weapon.

The death sparked protests in the city and led to police Chief Erika Shields' resignation from her post less than 24 hours after the shooting.

L. Chris Stewart, an attorney for Brooks' family, said his killing is not justified and questioned why the officers did not let Brooks walk home.

"It didn't have to go to that level," Stewart said at a news conference on Monday. "And that's what we're saying in America with policing, is this type of empathy is gone. ... Where is the empathy in just letting him walk home?"

Tomika Miller, Brooks' widow, said: "I can never get my husband back. I can never get my best friend. ... It's just going to be a long time before I heal." Brooks was the father of three daughters and a stepson.

Rolfe was reprimanded in a September 2016 use-of-force incident involving a firearm, according to records from the police department shared with NBC News. No other details were provided.

He also has four citizen complaints on his record, none of which resulted in disciplinary action. Records also show that Rolfe, who was hired by the department in 2013, has five vehicular accidents that he was involved in. One resulted in an oral admonishment and another a written reprimand while the rest had no disciplinary action.

Rolfe's record also shows one additional use of firearms incident, in 2015, without note of any disciplinary action.

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