Ex-officer charged with felony murder in shooting death of Rayshard Brooks; could face death penalty

by Adam Ford · Jun 17th, 2020 5:10 pm

Last Updated Jun 18th, 2020 at 8:54 am

Update 6/18 8:52 a.m.: Despite widespread reports Wednesday evening, an attorney for officer Devin Brosnan insists that his client has not agreed to become a state witness against Garrett Rolfe.

The attorney also slammed District Attorney Paul Howard, saying:

"Shame on the District Attorney for this abuse of his charging power. Shame on the District Attorney for not honoring his oath to uphold the constitution. Shame on the District Attorney for this rush to misjudgment."

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Original story: Former Atlanta police officer Garrett Rolfe was charged Wednesday with 11 counts, including felony murder, in the death of Rayshard Brooks, whom Rolfe shot to death during an altercation in a Wendy's parking lot on Friday.

Officers were called to the fast-food parking lot because Brooks, who was legally drunk, fell asleep in his car and was blocking the drive-thru lane.

The conversation was going amicably until officers attempted to take Brooks into custody, at which point he fought the two officers, overpowered them, stole one of their stun guns, and attempted to flee.

As Officer Rolfe gave chase, Brooks turned and pointed the stun gun at him, at which point Rolfe pulled his weapon and fired at Brooks, killing him.

Three videos show what transpired after the officers arrived and before Brooks was shot [warning: graphic].

One video, from the officers' dash cam, shows Brooks fighting and overpowering the two officers trying to arrest him for drunk driving:

A second video shows Brooks running from the officers with Rolfe's Taser in hand. Brooks then turns and points the stun gun at Rolfe, who then drops his own Taser, unholsters his weapon, and fires three shots, killing Brooks:

Here is a slow-motion video of Brooks pointing the stun gun at Rolfe as he fled and appearing to fire it. Rolfe then dropped his own stun gun — which he had until that point been pointing at Brooks — unholstered his pistol, and quickly fired:

Another, longer video shows the incident from the perspective of an officer's body cam, which falls off during the struggle:

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard Jr. said:

"We've concluded, at the time Mr. Brooks was shot, that he did not pose an immediate threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or officers."

The district attorney also said that at the time Rolfe fired his weapon, he made an "excited utterance," and said, "I got him." Howard also said that if convicted of felony murder, the former officer could face the death penalty.

Lawyers for Rolfe insisted their client used permissible force under the circumstances:

"Officer Rolfe heard a sound like a gunshot and saw a flash in front of him. Fearing for his safety, and the safety of the civilians around him, Officer Rolfe dropped his Taser and fired his service weapon."

Rolfe, his lawyers said, rendered aid, called an ambulance, and performed CPR on Brooks. The D.A. claims Rolfe "kicked Mr. Brooks while he laid on the ground."

The second officer, Devin Brosnan, is facing three charges, including aggravated assault. He has agreed to testify for the state against Rolfe, his former partner.


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