Cop who shot Rayshard Brooks in the back charged with murder
17 June 2020, 22:02
A police officer who shot a black man in the back will be charged with felony murder, it has been announced.
Rayshard Brooks died after being shot twice by police outside a drive-thru in Atlanta on Friday evening during an attempted arrest.
Garrett Rolfe has now been now been charged with 11 offences in relation to the shooting, and could face the death penalty if convicted on the murder charge.
A second officer, Devin Bronson, has been charged with three offences, including one for aggravated assault. He has agreed to testify against his former colleague in court.
Authorities said Rolfe kicked Mr Brooks and Bronson stood on him as he lay dying.
Footage released by the police department of the incident showed Mr Brooks having a relatively calm and respectful conversation for more than 40 minutes with the officers.
But when Mr Brooks failed a breathalyser test, he grabbed a taser and attempted to flee.
Rolfe then shot him in the back as he ran away.
Of the three bullets Rolfe fired, two hit Mr Brooks and one hit a nearby car - nearly killing the driver, investigators said.
Rolfe had served the Atlanta police department for six years before being fired from the force following Mr Brooks' death.
Bronson has been placed on administrative leave.
Announcing the charges at a press conference on Friday, Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said Mr Brooks cooperative manner leading up to the shooting played a major part in his decision in the decision to charge the officers.
He also said that Rolfe and Bronson did not tell Mr Brooks he was being arrested for being under the influence and either officer sought medical attention after the shooting.
Mr Brooks's widow, Tomika Miller, attended the news conference along with her lawyers, Justin Miller and L Chris Stewart.
The Wendy's restaurant where Mr Brooks was shot was burned down over the weekend.
Mr Brooks leaves behind a wife, with whom he shares three daughters - aged one, two and eight - and aa 13-year-old stepson.
His oldest daughter learned her father had been killed while celebrating her eighth birthday with cupcakes and friends, wearing a special dress as she waited for him to take her skating, said Justin Miller, a lawyer for the family.
"There's no justice that can ever make me feel happy about what's been done," said Tomika Miller, Mr Brooks' widow. "I can never get my husband back. I can never tell my daughter he's coming to take you skating or for swimming lessons."
Today's news came as Republicans on Capitol Hill unveiled a package of police reform measures and the movement to get rid of Confederate movements and other racially offensive symbols reached America's breakfast table, with the maker of Aunt Jemima syrup and pancake mix dropping the 131-year-old brand.
The shooting sparked new demonstrations in Georgia's capital against police brutality, after occasionally turbulent protests in response to George Floyd's death in Minneapolis had largely simmered down.
Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields resigned less than 24 hours after Mr Brooks died.