Atlanta officers who shot Rayshard Brooks won’t face charges!
More than two years after the shooting death of Rayshard Brooks sparked protests and drew scrutiny of the Atlanta Police Department, a state-appointed prosecutor announced Tuesday that neither of the two officers involved will face charges.
Special prosecutor Pete Skandalakis said that after reviewing images from police body cameras and area security footage, investigators concluded that the officers had “committed no crimes.”
“This case of Devin Brosnan and Garrett Rolfe is not like the George Floyd case,” he said. “This is not a case in which an officer was kneeling on a prone suspect for nine minutes. It’s nothing like that. Nor is it like the Ahmaud Arbery case, where armed citizens were chasing a person down through a neighborhood. This case, its facts, are different.”
Still, he added: “You can’t ignore the fact that all of this was happening about the same time.”
Brooks, 27, was shot and killed on the night of June 12, 2020, during the height of the racial justice protests that followed the murder of Floyd in Minneapolis. Video soon emerged showing Brooks running away when he was shot by Rolfe, an officer. The day after the shooting, Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields resigned from office, Rolfe was fired, and Brosnan, another officer on the scene, was pulled off street patrols.
Four days later, Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard announced that Rolfe had been charged with felony murder, aggravated assault and other offenses, while Brosnan was charged with aggravated assault and other related counts. Soon after, a number of Atlanta police officers called in sick to protest the decision to charge the men.
But in August 2020, Howard was defeated in his bid for reelection and his replacement, Fani Willis, accused him of tainting the case, pushing forward charges before the investigation had been completed. Critics have accused Howard of pursuing the case in an effort to bolster his reelection chances. Willis petitioned for the Georgia attorney general’s office to take over the case. He selected Skandalakis to prosecute it.
Andre Dickens, Atlanta’s freshman Black mayor, issued a statement saying he respected the work of the special prosecutor but felt for the Brooks family.
“My heart continues to ache for the family of Rayshard Brooks,” he said. “He was a father whose absence will forever be felt by our community.”
The Atlanta Police Department issued a statement saying the two White officers involved in the shooting, who are on administrative duty, would get to undergo training to be recertified for street patrols.
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The incident started when Atlanta Police Department officer Brosnan first approached Brooks’s car, where Brooks was asleep and blocking the drive-through lane of a Wendy’s in southwest Atlanta. Rolfe arrived some minutes later and conducted a field sobriety test on Brooks that found that his blood alcohol content was above the legal limit, according to a report by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
As Brosnan and Rolfe tried to take Brooks into custody, a fight broke out between the three men. Video of the scuffle showed that Brooks grabbed Brosnan’s Taser and attempted to flee. Rolfe ran after Brooks, and Brooks turned around and fired the Taser toward Rolfe. Rolfe then fired three shots at Brooks.
Skandalakis said investigators reached their conclusion that no crime had been committed after looking at the video and concluding that Rolfe had to make a life-or-death split-second decision.
“We do not look at this with 20/20 hindsight,” he said. “We look at it with what information the officers had in a dynamic situation that is quickly evolving.”