Atlanta Police officer charged with felony murder
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."
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