Rayshard Brooks

Atlanta Police officer charged with felony murder

Garrett Rolfe, left, was charged with felony murder, and Devin Brosnan was charged with aggravated assault in the shooting death of Rayshard Brooks

.uspg
US PRESS GROUP

The Atlanta Police officer who shot and killed Rayshard Brooks at a Wendy's parking lot last week was charged with felony murder, and the other officer on scene was charged with aggravated assault, Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard announced Wednesday. The decision comes just five days after Brooks was shot twice in the back in Atlanta during an attempted arrest. Officer Garrett Rolfe, who shot at Brooks three times, faces 11 charges in all, and officer Devin Brosnan, who was also on scene, faces three charges.

After shooting Brooks, Rolfe said "I got him" and kicked him, and Brosnan then stood on Brooks' shoulder, Howard said. The officers did not provide medical aid to Brooks for over two minutes after shooting him, Howard said.

Their demeanor after the shooting "did not reflect any fear or danger of Mr. Brooks, but reflected other kinds of emotions," Howard said.

Brosnan has agreed to be a state's witness, Howard said. "I don't remember a circumstance where we had an officer, particularly in a case this important, to step forward and say that they would cooperate with the state," he said.

Two of the counts against Rolfe are for aggravated assault related to a bullet he fired that hit an occupied vehicle nearby in the Wendy's lot. Brosnan's three charges include two counts of violations of oath of office.

Rolfe was fired and Brosnan was placed on administrative duty in the wake of the shooting.

Arrest warrants have been issued for the two and they were asked to surrender by Thursday. With the felony murder charge, Rolfe could face the death penalty if convicted.

The incident began when police responded to a report of a man sleeping in his car in the fast-food restaurant's drive-through lane. After chatting calmly with the officers and failing a breathalyzer test, Brooks resisted arrest when officers moved to handcuff him for suspected drunken driving.

Video footage shows the three fighting on the ground before Brooks grabs an officer's Taser and begins to run away. As the officers chase him, Brooks points the Taser over his shoulder at Rolfe, who then shoots him multiple times, the surveillance video shows. Brooks was struck twice in the back and died at a nearby hospital.

The police killing came amid nationwide protests calling for an end to racism and police violence against black people. Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields stepped down from her position in the wake of the killing.

Brooks' family members, who are preparing for the 27-year-old father's funeral, said the two officers should have continued to pursue him as he ran away instead of shooting him. He leaves behind three daughters, who are 1, 2 and 8 years old, and a 13-year-old stepson.

But some law enforcement leaders said the shooting was justified and protected by Georgia law - which allows a person to use deadly force "only if he or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent death or great bodily injury to himself or herself or a third person."

Read more

Judge rules South Carolina restaurant manager owes more than $500K to worker

A judge ruled that a former South Carolina restaurant manager who forced a Black man with intellectual disabilities to work more than 100 hours a week without pay, owes the former employee more than $500,000. According to The Post and Courier, Bobby Paul Edwards, 56, is serving a 10-year prison sentence for forcing John Christopher Smith, 43, to work at J&J Cafeteria without pay.

Judge denies requests to release body-cam video of shooting

A judge on Wednesday denied requests to release body-camera video in the case of a Black man who was shot to death by North Carolina deputies as they tried to arrest him on drug-related warrants. Judge Jeffery Foster said he believed the videos contained information that could harm the investigation or threaten the safety of people seen in the footage. He said the video must remain out of public view for at least 30 days.

Cicil rights: Will the Derek Chauvin guilty verdict change policing in America?

The jury’s guilty verdict on the former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for killing George Floyd signaled the conclusion of a historic police brutality trial and a key moment for policing and for the battle for racial equality in America. Observers have talked about this case being so significant that it will stand as a watershed between the way law enforcement was held to account in the US before George Floyd was pinned by the neck under Chauvin’s knee, and after.

US police and public officials donated to Kyle Rittenhouse, data breach reveals

A data breach at a Christian crowdfunding website has revealed that serving police officers and public officials have donated money to fundraisers for accused vigilante murderers, far-right activists, and fellow officers accused of shooting black Americans. In many of these cases, the donations were attached to their official email addresses, raising questions about the use of public resources in supporting such campaigns.