Ex-officer faces felony murder charge in shooting death of Rayshard Brooks: DA - ABC News

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  john-russell  •  4 weeks ago  •  10 comments

By:   Emily Shapiro (ABC News)

Ex-officer faces felony murder charge in shooting death of Rayshard Brooks: DA - ABC News
The Fulton County, Georgia, District Attorney announced his charging decision in the Rayshard Brooks case on Wednesday.

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A former Atlanta police officer is facing charges including felony murder and aggravated assault after fatally shooting Rayshard Brooks in a Wendy's parking lot last week, prosecutors said Wednesday.


By Emily Shapiro June 17, 2020, 8:03 PM 11 min read 11 min read Share to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this article

A former Atlanta police officer is facing charges including felony murder and aggravated assault after fatally shooting Rayshard Brooks in a Wendy's parking lot last week, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Brooks, a black man, "was running away at the time that the shot was fired" by Officer Garrett Rolfe, Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard Jr. said.

"At the time Mr. Brooks was shot," Howard said, "he did not pose an immediate threat of death or serious physical injury."

At the time the shot was fired, Rolfe made an "excited utterance," and said, "I got him," Howard said.

Rolfe has since been fired.

If convicted of felony murder, the former officer could face the death penalty, Howard said.

The second officer at the scene, Devin Brosnan, was placed on administrative leave.

Brosnan has since decided to testify on behalf of the state, Howard said.

Prosecutors have spoken with multiple witnesses, consulted with a Taser expert, looked at physical evidence and viewed surveillance video, dashboard camera and witness cellphone video, Howard said.

"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, Brosnan, actually stood on Mr. Brooks' shoulders while he was there struggling for his life."

Howard said he concluded that Rolfe was aware that the Taser Brooks was holding had been fired twice. He added, "Once it's fired twice, it presented no danger to him or to any other person. The demeanor of the officers immediately after the shooting did not reflect any fear or danger of Mr. Brooks, but their actions really reflected other kinds of emotions."

MORE: Rayshard Brooks' wife wants 2 Atlanta officers arrested: 'They just broke my family'

Brosnan faces two charges of violations of oath and a charge of aggravated assault for allegedly standing on Brooks' shoulder, the district attorney said.

Howard said his office is asking Rolfe and Brosnan to surrender by 6 p.m. Thursday. No bond is recommended for Rolfe, he said.

Brooks, a 27-year-old husband, father and stepfather, was fatally shot on Friday. His death sparked an arson fire, new protests, an investigation and the resignation of Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields.

Brooks was killed after officers were called to a Wendy's parking lot after receiving reports of a man, later identified as Brooks, asleep in his car. Police gave Brooks a Breathalyzer test, which registered a blood-alcohol level of .108%, above the legal limit of .08%.

Brooks was "calm," "cordial" and "displayed a cooperative nature" when speaking with the police officers, Howard said.

When officers tried to place him in handcuffs, Brooks began to struggle and wrestled with both officers on the ground, grabbing an officer's stun gun.

MORE: Rayshard Brooks went from telling Atlanta officer about visiting mother's grave to being fatally shot: Video

Surveillance video showed Brooks running through the parking lot with the officers behind him. At one point, Brooks turned and allegedly shot the stun gun at an officer, who drew his weapon and opened fire.

Brooks died from two gunshots to his back, the medical examiner determined.

Brooks' wife, Tomika Miller, told ABC News on Sunday that she wanted to see both officers arrested and the officer who was placed on administrative duty terminated.

"They don't need to be responding with guns and Tasers and things like that to a guy, sleeping in a parking lot situation," an attorney for Brooks' family, L. Chris Stewart, told ABC News on Sunday. "There needs to be a certain branch of police departments that handle stuff like that."

"That's how these situations escalate. They need to not be over policing, inner-city communities for minor stuff like this," he said.

Another Brooks family lawyer, Justin Miller, questioned those who called this a justified shooting.

"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."

MORE: Atlanta police officer fired after Rayshard Brooks death during confrontation at Wendy's drive-thru

In a statement on Wednesday, attorneys for the officers said "Mr. Brooks chose to violently attack two uniformed police officers."

The officers "attempted to leverage him to the ground while giving him loud, clear verbal commands ... in response, Mr. Brooks continued actively resisting lawful efforts to arrest him," the attorneys said. "He then escalated his resistance by punching Officer Rolfe in the face."

"Mr. Brooks continued his assault and disarmed Officer Brosnan, stealing his city-issued TASER," the attorneys said. "Instead of merely trying to escape, Mr. Brooks reached back with his arm extended and pointed an object at Officer Rolfe. Officer Rolfe heard a sound like a gunshot and saw a flash in front of him. Fearing for his safety, and the safety of the civilians around him, Officer Rolfe dropped his taser and fired his service weapon at the only portion of Mr. Brooks that presented to him - Mr. Brooks' back."

MORE: Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields resigns in wake of fatal shooting

The attorneys say Rolfe's actions were justified under the law.

"When Mr. Brooks turned and pointed an object at Officer Rolfe, any officer would have reasonably believed that he intended to disarm, disable, or seriously injure him," they said.

Miller, now a single black mother, said she feels "like I'm just a statistic."

"Now I'm by myself taking care of four children," she said. "This was not a choice -- they forced this on me by taking my husband away, by taking my family."

"No justice will ever get that back," she added.

ABC News' Bill Hutchinson contributed to this report.

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JohnRussell
1  seeder  JohnRussell    4 weeks ago

Saw the DA's press conference. In theory he has a good case, but I think this is going to be one of those times where the cop gets sympathy from the jury. 

Maybe they can convict him on some of the lesser charges. (He was indicted on 8 or 9 different counts I believe)

 
 
 
Snuffy
1.1  Snuffy  replied to  JohnRussell @1    4 weeks ago

yeah,  I thought the same thing when I read the article. I'm thinking they overcharged in an attempt to get the rioting halted,  hoping that the hot-heads out there see that the system is trying to do something to bring justice.  But I thought they would have a hard time proving the felony murder charges.  Best bet IMO is he loses his badge and maybe does a couple years in prison.  It did bother me to see that he's been written up several times for excessive violence and weapon usage and was still working, but that's part of the problem with the police unions and how hard it is to fire a police officer.

What are your thoughts on the proposed database of "dirty" cops?  This is going off on a tangent to this seed, but too many times we have seen bad cops who got in trouble in one city and before actions could be taken they would "resign" from the force. And later on they would start working in another city / state and get in trouble out there. The proposed database,  if properly setup and used, could help prevent that in the future.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
1.2  Vic Eldred  replied to  JohnRussell @1    4 weeks ago

It was shown last night as the lawyer for the police officer watched in disbelief, for it was that same DA who only weeks ago declared a "taser gun" to be a lethal weapon! Also was that part when D.A. Howard said that they have evidence that Rolfe kicked Brooks and Bronsan stood on Brooks after he was shot - NOT ON THE TAPE THEY DON"T!

 I think in this case the officers are clearly overcharged maybe even wrongly charged, but where I really disagree with you, john, is that there will be no sympathy from an Atlanta jury. I don't think they can get a fair trial there. I see convictions. True social justice in action!

 
 
 
MUVA
1.2.1  MUVA  replied to  Vic Eldred @1.2    4 weeks ago

I agree I also believe the police officer shouldn't have been charged in the first place.This is going to set a precedent to fight the police is ok.  

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
1.2.2  Vic Eldred  replied to  MUVA @1.2.1    4 weeks ago
I also believe the police officer shouldn't have been charged in the first place.

You mean wrestling two cops to the ground, stealing a weapon and trying to use it on them constitutes "posing a threat"?   You know what my friend - you nailed it again!

 
 
 
MUVA
1.2.3  MUVA  replied to  Vic Eldred @1.2.2    4 weeks ago

I had a long talk with my brother two nights ago he was a FBI agent and at one time after he was injured serving a fugitive warrant  he was put on desk for about year.One of the things he did was investigated civil rights abuse by police he said this was a justified shooting and even the fact he guy was charged didn't change his opinion he also said his lawyer should as for a change of venue.  

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
1.2.4  Vic Eldred  replied to  MUVA @1.2.3    4 weeks ago
One of the things he did was investigated civil rights abuse by police he said this was a justified shooting and even the fact he guy was charged didn't change his opinion he also said his lawyer should as for a change of venue.  

Your brother obviously knows what he is talking about.  With a change of venue there is a chance for justice. Either way we face a true dilemma: Either the cops are tried and found innocent via a justified shooting, which will result in another round of riots OR we have an officer wrongly prosecuted & convicted of murder which will endorse a policy of leaving the police defenseless and as you pointed out, encourage more resisting arrest

 
 
 
Tacos!
2  Tacos!    4 weeks ago

Felony Murder is an interesting way of charging this case. It generally means the accused was committing a dangerous felony and someone died as a result of that action. You can argue (and the DA apparently will) the cop was committing a dangerous felony when he pulled his gun and fired it at a suspect he had been struggling with, but I'm not sure a jury is going to buy that. Felony murder is attractive for prosecutors, because it is a way of getting to a First-degree murder conviction. I would be surprised if they got that in this case.

 
 
 
Karri
3  Karri    4 weeks ago

I watched the announcement.  He laid out a well-considered and detailed case.  The picture of the kick really disgusted me.

 
 
 
Greg Jones
4  Greg Jones    4 weeks ago

Dead guy could been alive tonight if he had accepted the officer's offer to drive him home to sober up.

Fighting with the cops for no good or legitimate reason seems to be a common theme in the majority of these shootings.

No definite proof that racism had anything to do with it.

 
 
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