Rayshard Brooks killing: White officer who shot black man at drive-thru could be charged with murder

‘[Brooks] did not seem to present any kind of threat to anyone, and so the fact that it would escalate to his death just seems unreasonable’ — DA Paul Howard

Bodycam shows moments before police shoot Rayshard Brooks dead in Atlanta

The white police officer who fatally shot Rayshard Brooks could be charged with murder by Wednesday according to the Fulton County district attorney.

Paul Howard told CNN that his office will decide by the middle of the week whether it will be filing charges against Garrett Rolfe, the officer who killed Mr Brooks on Saturday.

“[Brooks] did not seem to present any kind of threat to anyone, and so the fact that it would escalate to his death just seems unreasonable,” Mr Howard said.

“If that shot was fired for some reason other than to save that officer’s life or prevent injury to him or others, then that shooting is not justified under the law,” he added.

The DA’s office could decide to charge Mr Rolfe with murder or felony murder.

Mr Rolfe was immediately fired after the incident, and a second officer present at the scene, Devin Brosnan, has been placed on administrative duties while an investigation is carried out.

Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields has resigned, having led the force since 2016. She is being replaced by deputy chief Rodney Bryant. Ms Shields will reportedly stay in the city’s employ in a role yet to be determined.

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said she did not believe Mr Brooks’ death was a justified use of deadly force.

“While there may be debate as to whether this was an appropriate use of deadly force, I firmly believe that there is a distinction between what you can do and what you should do,” she said.

The incident began when, according to authorities, Mr Brooks fell asleep in his car in the drive-thru lane of a Wendy’s fast food restaurant on Friday night.

Police said they attempted to arrest him after he failed a sobriety test.

A video of one part of the incident shows a struggle on the ground between two officers and Mr Brooks, during which he manages to break away with one of the officer’s Tasers.

He is then seen running away from the scene, being pursued by the officers. Three gunshots are then heard.

Mr Brooks was taken to a local hospital, where he died after surgery.

A father of three girls, aged one, two and eight, and stepfather to a 13-year-old boy, Mr Brooks has spent time with his oldest daughter ahead of a birthday party planned for Saturday.

His death comes as protests continue across the nation and around the world about police brutality towards the African American community in the wake of the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.

After news of the Mr Brooks’ death broke, a protest at the site escalated, and the Wendy’s restaurant was set on fire. It burned for more than 45 minutes before a fire crews could extinguish the blaze. Authorities are offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the people who started the fire.

Elsewhere, protesters marched onto Interstate-75, halting traffic, until they were cleared by police. Three dozen people were arrested on Saturday night.

Civil rights groups have called for a deescalation of the police response to the protests which included tear gas, flashbang grenades and rubber bullets.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in