Maybe the grilling was due diligence, maybe the cops were giving Rayshard Brooks an opportunity to get it together, but in the end, one officer’s decision to shoot the 27-year-old husband and father twice in the back as he fled on foot is another law enforcement fail.
“Specifically, [the question is if] Officer Rolfe, whether or not he felt that Mr. Brooks, at the time, presented imminent harm of death or some serious physical injury. Or the alternative is whether or not he fired the shot simply to capture him or some other reason,” explained Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard. “If that shot was fired for some reason other than to save that officer’s life or to prevent injury to him or others, then that shooting is not justified under the law.”
Additional eyewitness video has emerged on Twitter of the two Atlanta police officers engaged in the Friday night killing at University and Pryor, collecting spent shells before rendering assistance to Brooks as he lay dying in a Wendy’s parking lot.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms maintains she doesn’t believe the killing was a justified use of force, and Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard says the officer who shot Brooks, Garrett Rolfe could face charges. Rolfe’s partner in the crime, Devin Bronsan, has been placed on administrative leave.
Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said Sunday on CNN there are three charges that could apply against former Atlanta Police Officer Garrett Rolfe: Murder, felony murder or aggravated assault. “But I believe in this instance, what we have to choose between, if there’s a choice to be made, is between murder and felony murder,” Howard said.
“You can’t have it both ways in law enforcement,” Brooks family attorney L. Chris Stewart said in an AP news release. “You can’t say a Taser is a nonlethal weapon … but when an African American grabs it and runs with it, now it’s some kind of deadly, lethal weapon that calls for you to unload on somebody.”
Earlier last week Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced the appointment of members to her Use of Force Advisory Council, which was created through an Administrative Order issued last week.
“What has become abundantly clear over the couple of weeks in Atlanta is that while we have a police force full of men and women who work alongside our communities with honor, respect and dignity, there has been a disconnect with what our expectations are and should be as it relates to interactions with our officers and the communities they are entrusted to protect,” Bottoms said in a statement on Saturday.
“The gravity of this Advisory Council’s actions and recommendations — and their potential to fundamentally transform the relationship between law enforcement officials and those they serve —cannot be understated,” said Mayor Bottoms. “With peoples’ very lives at stake, I look forward to their recommendations and assistance in implementing needed reforms to the City’s Use of Force policies.”
Brooks, a father of three girls and a stepson, celebrated his daughter’s 8th birthday on Friday before he was killed.