Former Atlanta police officer Garrett Rolfe was charged on Wednesday with 11 counts, including a crime of assault and a serious assault with a lethal weapon, in the murder of Rayshard Brooks, the latest d ” a series of blacks who died after arguments with the police.
If found guilty, Rolfe faces the death penalty or life in prison.
Arrest warrants have been issued against Rolfe and his colleague Devin Brosnan, who was also at the scene and faces three charges.
Fulton District Attorney Paul Howard said Brooks’ cordial and cooperative attitude before the attempt to arrest him played a major role in the decision to charge Rolfe because Brooks did not appear to be threatening.
“Mr. Brooks never displayed aggressive behavior in the 41 minutes and 17 seconds” before Rolfe tried to handcuff him, said Howard.
The DA also pointed out that Rolfe and Brosnan did not tell Brooks that he was arrested for driving under the influence and did not attempt to provide medical treatment after Rolfe shot him, as required.
Howard said Brosnan was cooperating as a state witness and admitted to standing on Brooks’ body after the shooting, for which the officer was charged.
Protests against racial inequality and police brutality, which were already underway across the country after the deaths of George Floyd in Minneapolis and Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky, resumed in the capital of Georgia after the Brooks died last weekend. Wendy’s restaurant where Brooks, 27, was shot and burned late on Saturday night and burned again on Sunday.
As protesters gathered on Monday for a “March on Georgia”, Brooks’ cousin Tiara Brooks called for “a condemnation and a radical change in the police department” at a press conference.
“Legal but horrible”: Atlanta police had better options than deadly force in Rayshard Brooks shooting, experts say
Tomika Miller, Brooks’ widow, also spoke at the press conference while holding back tears.
“I can never get my husband back,” said Miller. “I can never have my best friend. I can never say to my daughter, “Oh, he’s coming to take you skating” or for swimming lessons. It’s just going to take a long time before I heal. It’s going to be a long time before this family heals. ”
Brooks was shot dead by Rolfe on Friday evening in the parking lot of the fast food restaurant after police answered a call about Brooks asleep in his car in the drive-thru lane. He failed a sobriety test and the police tried to handcuff him. Videos of the scene show Brooks wrestling with two white officers and getting a Taser from one of them. Brooks pointed the Taser at the officers as he fled.
What we know: Timeline of Rayshard Brooks’ death, protests, and aftermath of the Atlanta Wendy’s incident
Brooks was fleeing when he was shot, the video shows. Brooks’ death was declared homicide on Sunday, the result of “two gunshot wounds to the back that caused organ damage and blood loss,” the Fulton County medical examiner’s office said in a statement.
Rolfe was sacked on Sunday and Devin Brosnan, the other officer who answered the call, was placed on administrative assignment.
Contributor: Nicquel Terry Ellis and John Bacon, USA TODAY; Conor Hughes, The Greenville (S.C.) News.
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